Port of Oakland Board President speaks out for social justice

EDITOR’S NOTE: For Board President video, click HERE

Oakland, Calif. – June 19, 2020: Port of Oakland Board President Ces Butner denounced social injustice today as West Coast dockworkers prepared to protest racism.  The Port must stand up for what’s right, President Butner declared in an online video interview distributed to employees and the public.

“There’s no question that we stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement,” said the 8-year-veteran of the Port’s Board of Port Commissioners.  “We want this country to live up to what it’s supposed to be.”

The President’s comments coincided with demonstrations planned today at 29 seaports in California, Oregon and Washington.  Dockworkers say they’ll protest the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man, by Minneapolis police. Oakland longshore workers have indicated they plan to assemble at the Port, then march downtown.  The protest coincides with Juneteenth, a day commemorating the abolition of slavery in the U.S.

The Port issued a statement June 6 supporting the movement for social and racial justice.  President Butner, a prominent African American business leader, endorsed the action, but called for more.  “I’m proud the Port has a statement on this issue,” he said in the video.  “Now we have to follow that up with our actions.  We must ask: are we making everything equal?”

President Butner updated the Port’s status during his 9-minute video interview conducted via Zoom.  He said the Port is maintaining full operations despite the coronavirus pandemic.  He added that the pandemic’s drag on global economic activity has significantly reduced Port revenue.

The Board President directed his most forceful comments at the social unrest roiling communities worldwide.  “As a black man in America, I’ve experienced almost everything being talked about,” said President Butner.  “As Commissioners, we will demand that the Port seek social justice.”

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. The Port’s 5-year strategic plan – Growth with Care – pairs business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulus as the Port grows. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 84,000 jobs. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com.

Media Contacts

Mike Zampa
Port of Oakland
Communications Director
(510) 627-1565
[email protected]

Marilyn Sandifur
Port of Oakland
Port Spokesperson 
(510) 627-1193
[email protected] 


Media & Newsroom

Not sure who to contact or have a general question? Use our contact form to route your request