LB Businesses

Creating Real Community Safety

Lightning Bolt is helping build a sustainable and tangible sense of community safety in Oakland by facilitating trainings for small businesses free of cost. These are the common spaces we participate in and utilize in our day-to-day lives, so it follows that these are the spaces that can help defend and nurture our communities as they become sites of skilled preparedness.

We are networked with long-time community experts in transformative justice, disaster relief, and proactive defense from political crises that target our more precarious Oaklanders in the margins of society. Because we value these important skill sets, we recognize that paying our trainers is a material way of showing our support and appreciation for the heroic work they do for Oakland. To compensate them for their labor of love, we ask that folks donate to our upcoming training November 13th so that we can afford to pay them for their time and effort.

We thank you for your time and support for an Oakland that is evermore ready for the future!

We need to raise $700 by Friday! Can you help?

Venmo: @LightningBolt
Paypal: lightningboltvision

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3 Ways Racism Is In The Air — Literally

A stock image shows a Black child using an inhaler.

All around the East Bay, adults, kids, and elders are wearing masks and sharing supplies to filter out the incinerated cars, gasified pesticides, petrochemicals, and (ironically) potentially noxious flame retardant fumes billowing down from the fires in the north. People have reported nosebleeds, dizziness, persistent coughing, uncontrollable vomiting, and other symptoms. Does race affect who is most vulnerable in this smoky mess?

Absolutely. Here are just three ways — please feel free to add more in comments.

1. White people probably don’t have to worry about being arrested and deported from an emergency shelter.

Fear of racial profiling, arrest, and deportation is giving some undocumented immigrant families (you know, the types that white County Sheriffs say “look illegal”) second thoughts about seeking emergency shelter and resources. And because farmworkers rely on fleeting harvest opportunities for their paychecks, some are even trying to keep picking fruit amidst the toxic smoke, increasing their risk of exposure. If you’d like to help support undocumented communities, check out the UndocuFund — for fire relief in Sonoma County.

2. Indigenous communities — whose knowledge of safe forest burning has long been ignored or suppressed — will not be eligible for federal aid.

The U.S. government itself acknowledges that colonization has suppressed indigenous knowledge of how to burn forests properly. These deliberate forms of burning have been used for millennia to strategically tend the landscape and prevent spontaneous lightning fires. (Check out this video for an example from the Mono people of Central California.)

Continue Reading “3 Ways Racism Is In The Air — Literally”


Masks, Round 2: East Oakland!

Thanks to 83 generous people in and out of California, we succeeded in getting 300 P-grade masks for houseless folks in Oakland. THANK YOU!!! With this first shipment going to tent encampments in West and downtown Oakland (via Feed the People), we’re now starting a 2nd Lightning Round for East Oakland encampments in need of relief.

Please help us raise $800 by Tuesday to purchase 60 – 100 high-quality P95 and P100 masks for houseless folks in East Oakland, to be distributed by the East Oakland Collective.*

Venmo: LightningBolt
PayPal: lightningboltvision
(uncheck the box for goods and services)

These are no ordinary wildfires, and the smoke is no ordinary smoke. The fires have incinerated pesticides, gas stations, cars, household chemicals, and all manner of toxins that N95 masks are not designed to filter out. This is why it’s urgent to provide medical relief and options for better breathing — like P95 masks made to filter out not only dry particles, but oils in the air. This stronger protection helps prevent serious lung damage that can last a lifetime.

As we know, the housing crisis is itself is the result of racist displacement, eviction, and gentrification in Oakland. The results are clear: homelessness has jumped by 25% in the past 2 years, and 70% of the people living on Oakland’s streets are Black.

We also know that racism contributes to higher asthma rates in Black and low-income communities, further compounding the effects of unhealthy air quality.

The Lightning Bolt Collective is committed to addressing immediate effects of disasters even as we also analyze and fight their root causes in oppressive systems.

Thank you for your support and solidarity!

*If the East Oakland Collective determines that masks are no longer the priority by Tuesday, then all $800 will go to them for supplies as folks in the encampments see fit. Any funds raised above the goal will support Lightning Bolt’s next Community Safety Training for POC-owned small businesses in Oakland.


Masks to the people!

Wildfires in the Northern San Francisco Bay area are raging. Many folks have lost their homes, and people all over the bay area are being affected by the smoke. Lightning Bolt is raising money to purchase P95-P100* masks for The Village and Feed the People in Oakland to distribute to houseless folks all over town. Everything donated here before NOON FRIDAY will go toward purchasing P95-P100 masks that will reach people over the next few days. THANK YOU!

Venmo: LightningBolt
PayPal: lightningboltvision
(uncheck the box for goods and services)

*UPDATE: We were initially going to purchase N95 masks. N95 is promoted as a mask that is adequate for wildfires, However, as we learned more about different kinds of masks, we realized that N95 masks are not going to be very effective at protecting people from what’s in the air. It’s not just particulates from wood that are in the air. Whole houses, whole cars are burning. That’s a lot of petroleum going up in smoke, and that is what we are breathing.  So we have decided to purchase P level masks to distribute.

From Bayanihan Guevara:

⚠️ A Quick Breakdown of Respirator Ratings ⚠️

— N, R, or P indicates the resistance to oils.
N = “N”ot resistant to oils
R = somewhat “R”esistant to oils
P = strongly resistant (oil “P”roof)

This is IMPORTANT because for N and R rated masks, oils can degrade the filter’s performance and prevent it from filtering properly.

Remember that it’s not just trees burning, it’s thousands of cars and buildings and houses full of stuff and farmland. When you read “oils” think “petrochemicals.” Petroleum is not just used for fuel. One 42 gallon barrel of oil creates only 19 gallons of gasoline, over half the barrel is used to make other common products, many of which are very harmful to your health when inhaled or burned.This includes stuff like plastics, synthetic rubbers and fibers, pesticides, fertilizers, detergents, solvents, perfumes, explosives, building materials such as flooring and insulation, and more.

— 95, 99, or 100 indicates the percentage of particles that it will filter.
95 = removes 95% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter
99 = removes 99% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter
100 = removes 99.97% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter. HEPA quality filter.


Also, disposable masks are only recommended for short-term, temporary use, and they do not offer a tight enough seal for long-term protection from air quality disasters. These fires could rage for weeks and cause health issues that last the rest of your life. People need to get durable, reusable respirators and order multiple packs of filters so the filters can be replaced when they eventually get clogged and harder to breathe through.

If you can afford a few extra dollars for a better mask, it is so worth it to protect your lungs.

For those who are handing out free masks to people who can’t afford them, please consider getting P-rated masks and also letting people know a little bit about what masks are helpful and how often they need to be replaced to be effective.

Trainings We Like

All Out to Stop Urban Shield Sept. 8

Lightning Bolt is helping organize the community resource fair as part of the Stop Urban Shield Campaign SAFETY IS WITH COMMUNITY, NOT COPS. MILITARIZED POLICE DON’T CREATE SAFETY IN A DISASTER. Come out for the rally at 4 and the fair at 5, this coming Friday, Sept. 8 in Oakland.

The fair will include trainings and info for:

  • How to be Cop-Free (alternatives to calling 911)
  • Fire Safety
  • Earthquake Safety, including supplies distribution
  • Self Defense
  • Medical Safety
  • Herbal Shield Not Urban Shield

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LB Businesses

Black Businesses Building Community Safety

Lightning Bolt focused our July training on all black-owned businesses, with all black trainers. It was a beautiful collaborative effort. Gratitude to July’s businesses: Pollinate Farm & Garden, Betti Ono Gallery, Show and Tell, Qulture Collective, Mamacitas, and The Hood Incubator. Gratitude to July’s trainers: Sins Invalid (accessibility and disability justice), People’s Community Medics (basic medic training), Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) (what to do if ICE shows up). TGI Justice Project (trans justice), and Doshe Healing Arts (self defense and not calling 911).

Trainings We Like

Emergencies without police: August 19

Join Lightning Bolt for a day of Oakland Power Projects workshops, story-collecting and skill-building sessions to enhance community power to respond to healthcare needs and emergencies without police.

FREE and open to all community members. Lunch provided. Childcare is available on request – please contact us at

LOCATION: East Bay Community Space, 507 55th St (@Telegraph Ave), Oakland

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Trainings We Like

Instead of calling police

In Alameda County, California, when you call 911, the first people to get dispatched are police. You can help people avoid getting harmed by police by not calling 911. Instead, you can call the Alameda County Fire & Medical Emergency Line, which will connect directly to the fire department and the paramedics, bypassing that first call to the police.

DOWNLOAD THIS 11″ x 8.5″ PDF POSTER to put up on the wall of your home, school, business, or wherever there are people.

LB Businesses

May 2017 Lightning Bolt Business Cohort

In May of 2017, six small, POC-owned businesses participated in Lightning Bolt’s pilot training for local Oakland businesses interested a vision of community safety that includes these 5 areas:

  • De-escalation and alternatives to calling the police
  • Non-cooperation with ICE
  • Medic skills for treating wounds and tear gas
  • Disability Justice — accessibility beyond the ADA
  • Gender-neutral bathrooms & other areas of safety for Trans people

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Training Reportbacks

@EastlakeUnitedForJustice: Earthquake Prep

11 neighbors in the lefty Eastlake United for Justice group (EUJ) took a free 2.5-hour home safety and disaster preparedness class, CORE I, led by a lovely geologist named Jerry.

We want to improve our disaster readiness in light of the overdue earthquake anticipated to hit the San Francisco Bay Area any day now. This training covered a lot of ground — safety plans, evacuation strategies, gas and electric, water, food, and more. The basic premise is that we should be prepared, in the event of an earthquake or major disaster, to survive for 7 to 10 days with no running water, cell phones, or electricity.

Our larger vision is to support a culture in which neighbors reach out to each other for safety and support, instead of police, since police make things more dangerous.
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@ElenaRose: Preparing for White Supremacists at a Pagan Conference

My name is Elena Rose, and in this context I am a working priestess and community organizer — particularly coming in as a member of the Board of the Solar Cross Temple.

(Edited for clarity)

Lightning Bolt: What is Pantheacon?
It’s a large, interreligious conference that’s mostly pagans, polytheists and witches, and a lot of folks from the African Diaspora and indigenous religions, also.

What’s your role in the conference this year?
I’m hosting the hospitality suite for people of color, as well as convening a caucus of practitioners of color for conversation, and leading some anti-racist work in the form of workshops and in the form of ritual.
Continue Reading “@ElenaRose: Preparing for White Supremacists at a Pagan Conference”