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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Black Church Faces $3,500 Fine From City Officials Because White Residents Are Complaining About Loud Singing

Black Church Choir

Oakland, CA — Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, mostly attended by African Americans, has been receiving warnings from city officials after local residents have started complaining about loud gospel music singing.

Thomas A. Harris III, pastor of the 65-year old historic church, says they have received letters from the city, stating that the church’s organ, drums, and choir singing violated the city’s noise ordinance. They face fines of up to $500 per day, and could be given an additional $3,529 fine if the music isn’t kept to a minimum.

Church members say that they believe the complaints are because of gentrification. They say the complaints are coming from local white families who have recently moved into the neighborhood. Experts say that because of economic prosperity in Silicon Valley, prices for homes and apartments are super expensive in the San Francisco area. As a result, more white and Asian residents have started buying property and moving into what were once Black neighborhoods in both West and East Oakland.

“Kind of hard to believe because we’ve been here about 65 years in the community and all of a sudden we get some concerns about the noise,” Harris said.

But city officials say they are getting complaints about the noise “after 10 and 11pm at night” and in one case, “up to two in the morning.”

But that’s not the only thing the neighbors are complaining about. Reportedly, Oakland Police now get over 700 calls per month regarding “suspicious” cars and people. But many locals say, when officers arrive, it usually turns out to be nothing.