Both Scott and Robb's descriptions of this interaction point to some deep cultural and structural issues at Omni.

I am hopeful that we can work towards engendering a culture of generosity and hospitality rather than one of resentment and distrust and that we can begin to really address internalized / structural racism within ourselves as well as organizationally. 

Deon: I am so sorry that you had this experience. It's categorically not ok that you encountered such hostility at Omni. 

Rob: I'm glad that you're not answering the door anymore. It sounds like welcoming folks into Omni is something that you resent and I don't think you should do it anymore. When people accuse Omni of having a White Supremacist culture this is exactly the kind of thing they are talking about. If you're not clear as to what about this interaction could be interpreted as White Supremacist, I'd encourage you to do some personal anti-oppression work. 

Here's a pretty good list of resources:

I'm hoping to put a formal proposal together that would require Omni organizers to engage in some kind of anti-oppression training but I move at a snail's pace these days so it will probably take me some time to prepare.

With love and in solidarity,


On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 10:24 AM robb <> wrote:
You appear to have several facts confused. When I answered the door after hearing one long super annoying incessant ring on omni's doorbell as i walked up all the way from the basement to answer, i opened it with "please, don't ring our fucking doorbell like that." I didn't know who was at the door but it's my responsiblity to make sure make sure they are a member of a collective, a guest of a member of a collective or attending an event. The man refused to identify himself & said he knew Needa B (Needa has an agreement with Omni to use the Omni office, but the Village is not a member collective at Omni & no other members of Needa's group use the omni aside from the donation pile in the basement which hasn't been touched in a very long time) but i had never seen him at an Village workparties or actions & i was unable to even confirm with Needa as he refused to give me his name.

i did say, at one point as i was annoyed, "learn how to ring a doorbell like a normal human" but i would have said that to anybody under similar circumstances regardless of ethnic background.

i've agreed to mediation but so far all that's happened are two messages, one yours & one Needa's, to very large groups. we have a mediation list for actual mediation coordination & a process defined on our wiki.

i have stopped answering the door altogether

On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 10:00 AM robb <> wrote:

On 6/28/19, D. Scott Nanos <> wrote:

> Basically, Deon is friends with Phat Beets and Food First, and has been
> frequenting the Omni in order to do work and access the community resources
> that are available. To my understanding, he often works in the Sudo room
> space. Although this should not need to be said, I can personally vouch for
> Deon as an upstanding and generous member of the Oakland community.
> Deon was having trouble accessing the space the other day and rung the Omni
> doorbell several times, at which point guy named Rob opened the door and
> started cursing at him and being very aggressive. After Deon was able to
> enter Omni, Rob then started following him around and harassing him, acting
> like a cop. Although this is egregious in and of itself, and a terrible
> counter-representation of the Omni's values, this all came to a head when
> Rob accused Deon of not being "an actual, normal, human being". Whether or
> not this was intentional, it evoked longstanding racist attitudes that
> black folks have been subjected to, suggesting that Deon was less-than, or
> sub-human. Deon was so offended that he promptly left the Omni and has not
> been back since.
> Besides this very loaded and hateful comment, this general kind of
> treatment and attitude, overall, is the EXACT opposite of the way black
> folks should be treated when interfacing with the Omni. Rob's actions are
> not okay, at all, and I strongly feel that a serious accountability process
> should be implemented for this incident. This is not a small matter. I've
> spoken with Deon, and he has agreed to participate.
> I've also heard that this type of incident has happened before at the Omni,
> specifically involving Rob. Correct me if I'm wrong, but apparently, the
> attitude that was expressed to Deon was that Rob is one of the main people
> that operates (i.e. helps to reproduce and sustain,) the Omni, and as such,
> people basically go along with what he says and does. If this is in fact
> the case, then an accountability process is even more imperative. In no way
> should labor, and by proxy, "power" derived from labor, enable a person to
> act with racism against members of the Oakland community. I think it's in
> the best interest of the Omni to address this issue immediately, for Deon,
> for the Omni, and for the Omni's relationship with the greater community of
> Oakland.
> I believe Marc was present for part of this incident as well, and although
> I know, Marc is so busy doing vital work for Sudo and Omni, it might
> behoove him to also participate in this process, as a witness.
> I am writing this email not because I am trying to "cancel" or ruin anyone,
> but because I care about Deon, The Omni, Sudo, and the Oakland community at
> large. This issue seems indicative of larger problems, and if addressed
> with love and respect and accountability, could seriously benefit all
> parties listed above, and improve the Omni and it's relationship with
> Oakland.
> I'm not sure where to take it from here, as I am personally extremely busy
> with other community-based activities in Oakland right now, but a
> mediator/facilitator should be sought out, ideally a black person, but at
> the very least, a non-black poc, and probably someone that isn't personally
> involved in the day-to-day operations at Omni, sudo etc. If i am able, I
> could possibly be this mediator, but I hope other options are sought out
> first, because a.) I'm a non-black, mixed race poc, and b.) I have very
> little capacity at the moment.
> But please keep me in the loop regarding an accountability process for Rob,
> and I'll do whatever I can to help move this along and reach a fair and
> just conclusion.
> Sorry to bring such difficult news to you all, but I could not stay silent.
> With love and Solidarity,
> Scott
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