The final school day of the year for Oakland Unified School District was last Wednesday. But for two OUSD schools that are slated for closure this year—Community Day School and Parker K-8, a nearly century-old elementary in East Oakland—the last day was more permanent.

Protests against the school closures have been fierce since district officials announced them in February. And at Parker, a group of families and other community members responded by occupying the campus and starting their own grassroots “community school” on the site. They’ve pledged to not leave until the district reverses its decision to close the campus.

The Oaklandside visited Parker on the last official day of OUSD classes last week, and returned this past Tuesday to document the protesters’ launch of the community school.

Parents, teachers, and education advocates rally at Parker K-8 on the last day of the semester on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Credit: Amir Aziz
A reporter from Univision 14 visits Parker K-8 school during the rally against school closures on the last day of OUSD instruction. Credit: Amir Aziz
Azlinah Tambu, a Parker parent, speaks with reporters visiting Parker K-8 school during the rally there on Wednesday, May 25. Credit: Amir Aziz
Rochelle Jenkins, a Parker parent, speaks to the crowd at last Wednesday’s rally against school closures at Parker K-8. Credit: Amir Aziz
Protest signs outside of Parker K-8 on the school’s last day of class as an Oakland Unified school. Credit: Amir Aziz
School parent Rochelle Jenkins leads chants and addresses the crowd last Wednesday, the last official day of instruction for Parker K-8.
OUSD staff put a warning sign for trespassing on an entrance to the campus, which the protesters countered with their own signage about the community school opening. Credit: Amir Aziz
Parker Community School volunteers set up a check-in table for students and other volunteers on Tuesday, May 31. Credit: Amir Aziz
A Parker Community School volunteer teacher takes a break from instruction to participate with students in a roller-skating class being taught by a high school student. Credit: Amir Aziz
A student dons rolling skates for a class on Tuesday at the volunteer-led Parker Community School. Credit: Amir Aziz
Parker Community School volunteers help students learn to skate on the campus during a break from the classroom. Credit: Amir Aziz
A Parker Community School volunteer wears a jacket in protest of school closures. Credit: Amir Aziz
Protest signs adorn one of the buildings on the occupied Parker K-8 campus. Credit: Amir Aziz
Azlinah Tambu uses a walkie-talkie to communicate with other volunteers on campus, during the first day of the unofficial community school at Parker K-8. Credit: Amir Aziz
A banner outside of Parker K-8 announces the community school that families and supporters launched on Tuesday, May 31, in protest of the school’s closure by OUSD. Credit: Amir Aziz
Photos: Inside the community school started by families protesting the closure of Parker elementary
About half a dozen families have set up tents outside of Parker K-8 and say they will not leave until OUSD reverses its decision to close the school. Credit: Amir Aziz

Amir Aziz is a photographer and videographer from Oakland, California. Using photography as his primary medium, Amir documents life and times in his community and the rapid changes in his environment. He's covered music events and social justice movements in the U.S. and abroad for local and international publications. Before shelter-in-place, he traveled to over 10 countries producing multimedia projects juxtaposing the experiences of locals elsewhere to those in his hometown of Oakland. Amir hopes to continue to bridge the gap between African diaspora communities and oppressed groups in the world through multimedia storytelling.