‘Losing our north star’: how the Raiders’ exit deprives Oakland of a uniting force

For many fans, the Raiders embody the city’s grit and diversity. What happens now that the team is set to move to Las Vegas?

John Jones III was born in Oakland to members of the Black Panthers at a time of division and strife in America. But he remembers the Raiders’ glory days in the NFL with fondness. “I grew up in church, which is segregated. [But being a Raiders fan] was transformative and beautiful in a way that stays with me. It was, and still is, a time of racial disparity and a lot of institutions are set up to divide people. But never the Raiders … I’ve never been a part of another entity that was as inclusive. Didn’t matter your age, economic status, or race. For three glorious hours, we’re family.”

Now that family – my grandfather liked to say his beloved, gritty Raiders represented the people of Oakland – is about to break apart.

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