Hakeem Brown Must Resign from Vallejo City Council and Withdraw from the Mayoral Race

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CONTENT WARNING: graphic domestic violence

As an organization that seeks to reduce the harm that our systems implicate on the most vulnerable in our society, we want to begin this statement by highlighting the need to bring justice for Chana Brown, Joanna Cullom, and the other women who have been abused, tormented, and manipulated by Councilmember Hakeem Brown. We must work on building communities of care that provide safety for those who face heightened risk of domestic violence, and we must hold our leaders accountable for their role in the harm that they cause to those in our community.

On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, Open Vallejo released an article detailing Hakeem Brown's extensive history of brutal domestic violence against his former partners, citing several court documents and testimonies from survivors. Brown was elected to Vallejo City Council in 2018 and he is currently the frontrunner in the Mayoral race. At the time of this petition's publication, he is currently endorsed by the Solano County and State Democratic Parties, as well as many other prominent organizations such as the Napa Solano Central Labor Council (led by Jon Riley), VCUSD President John Fox, and fellow City Council Members Pippin Dew and Hermie Sunga.

Vessels of Vallejo does not believe the carceral system is an ethical means to rehabilitate individuals who do wrong or cause harm. We believe that all humans are capable of growth. However, the first step toward that growth is taking accountability for one's actions and for the harm that has been caused. Brown has not done this. In fact, as recently as this past Sunday October 11, 2020, Brown released a pre-emptive statement to try to discredit the then-impending Open Vallejo article. In his statement, Brown refers to his past transgressions by saying, "As a young man 20 years ago, I was arrested not once but several times -- for drugs, possession of a firearm, and a scuffle with a domestic partner.

It is clear that Brown is not only unprepared and unwilling to take accountability, he is also actively trying to downplay his actions, brush them under the rug, and present a misleading timeline of his violence.

Per the Open Vallejo article, below is a partial list of Hakeem Brown's violence against his former partners with details of the harm he caused (cw://graphic domestic violence):

  • Hakeem Brown has been accused of domestic violence or related crimes in at least 9 different incidents, including 5 cases that resulted in criminal charges, of which he was convicted in three. 
  • He has been accused of striking his pregnant partners on at least two occasions; after one incident, for which he was convicted of felony domestic violence, the woman lost the child. 
  • He allegedly followed women who had moved far away from him and confronted them.

Additionally it should be noted that as recently as June of 2012, Hakeem Brown's then-wife had to be rescued from his violence. She was found to have deep bruising and cuts from Brown's assaults. His actions were described as "domestic violence bordering on torture." We recommend reading Open Vallejo's article in its entirety but, again, we caution that the contents are deeply disturbing.

Multiple women accusing Brown of heinous assault demonstrates a clear pattern of behavior and his recent statement referring to a singular, solitary "scuffle" with a domestic partner makes it clear that Brown is not prepared to take accountability for his actions and therefore is not prepared to be in any type of leadership position.

Vessels of Vallejo is calling on Hakeem Brown to take the initial steps toward undoing the immeasurable harm he has caused. Please sign this petition if you stand with us in asking Brown to do the following:

  • Resign from Vallejo City Council
  • Withdraw from the Vallejo Mayoral race
  • Partake in a transformative justice program

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