Black Church Choir
The city of Oakland, California is not in harmony with one of its historic churches.
The West Oakland Pleasant Grove Baptist Church recently received a letter from the city threatening to fine the church a $3, 500 nuisance fee, and $500 daily, if its gospel choir doesn't quiet down during its practices, according to SFist.
"[This] activity may constitute a public nuisance due to its impact to the use and quiet enjoyment of the surrounding community’s property, ” the city's letter states.
The Pleasant Grove congregation said it never received any prior warnings from the city and can't understand how the church's choir could now be seen as a nuisance after so many decades.
"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, ” said Pleasant Grove pastor Thomas A Harris III.
For some, the root of the city's complaints are clear: the gentrification of historically black parts of Oakland.
— DeMarcus Davis (@DeMarcusRFNET)
— OK Council (@OKcouncil)
That church has been there for 65 years. I'm so sad. I hate what Oakland has become.
— -based kortney- (@fakerapper)
— IM YO DAD OG. (@IamAfricaBlack)
“We’re being bought out, " said Lawrence Van Hook, the senior pastor at Community Church. "We’re being moved out. We are being priced out of our own neighborhood."
For residents who object to the music, it's simply a matter of trying to get a good night's sleep.
But George Holland, president of the Oakland branch of the NAACP, said those moving into Oakland must learn to respect the long-held traditions of its current residents — no matter how loud they may be.
“Those persons who are just new arrivals should not come and try to change the culture that existed before they arrived here, " Holland said. "We cannot have people come attack churches about music.”