As a West Oakland mom who lost both her son and grandson to gun violence, “Black Lives Matter” is not just a slogan. It’s Councilmember Lynette McElhaney’s life’s calling - the reason she gets up every day, rooted in love, working for justice, and fighting for the soul of the Town. Lynette leads with hope and determination for every neighborhood in our district, from West Oakland to the Lake, from Adams Point to Jack London, from KONO to the Bottoms. With earned respect from the Hood to City Hall, she’s in the trenches every day putting our community’s needs first.
A Daughter of the Civil Rights Movement, Lynette’s Commitment to Justice is Unshakeable.
Lynette’s passion to serve is born from the struggles she’s overcome. She was raised in a union household by parents who escaped the segregated south and the violence of the Ku Klux Klan. Lynette knows the perils of growing up in under-resourced, over-policed neighborhoods. She was still a teen when local police shot and killed the father of her childhood friend in a botched War-on-Drugs raid near her childhood home. Lynette would later become the first in her family to attend college.
One of the East Bay’s Most Effective Affordable Housing Leaders.
As someone who knows housing displacement firsthand, Lynette spent 20 years before she was elected to office as an affordable housing leader, securing millions of dollars in investment for underserved communities and helping low-income families secure affordable rentals, become homeowners and to keep from losing their homes to foreclosure.
A History Making Councilmember and a Mother of the Movement for Racial Justice in Oakland.
As a mother of Black sons, Trayvon Martin’s death pushed Lynette into the race for City Council in 2012. She became the first Black elected official from West Oakland in over a decade and later the first Black woman to ever serve as Council President. With an unshakeable commitment to justice and equity, Lynette has fought for real racial justice and true police reform. She founded the Department of Violence Prevention, an alternative to over-policing Oakland’s Black and Brown residents, which is now serving as the main vehicle for the Defund OPD movement. She formed the Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce, to shift up to 50 percent of OPD’s general purpose budget to support Black and Brown communities. She helped stand up Oakland’s Department of Race and Equity, to tackle systemic racial disparities in Oakland. And she pushed to create our city’s independent Police Commission - the strongest commission in the nation.
Standing Up to Powerful Interests to Make Oakland More Just and Inclusive.
On the City Council, Lynette secured millions of dollars in funding to stem displacement and build hundreds of units of affordable housing. She worked to strengthen tenant protections and held landlords accountable for unhealthy housing. Lynette stood up to big business, advocating for the Fight for $15 campaign to raise the minimum wage. And she helped increase wages and benefits for recyclers and added protections for vulnerable hotel workers. Lynette fought back against City Hall efforts to lay off City workers and got public employees a pay raise. And she forced developers to contribute to the City’s affordable housing fund.
A fierce champion for environmental justice, Lynette led the charge to stop development of a coal terminal in West Oakland and fought to stop a major engineering corporation from polluting West Oakland with toxic dust. And to tackle the humanitarian crisis of homelessness, Lynette developed the Compassionate Communities pilot that has expanded services and has moved hundreds of people from tents to housing.
Still Standing, Fighting for Justice, for Peace, for Oakland.
And after losing her son and grandson to gun violence over the past four years, Lynette’s mission to save Black lives is more urgent than ever. Lynette invites you to join her in the fight ahead for justice, for peace, and for the soul of the Town.