Cat Brooks

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Cat Brooks
Cat Brooks.jpg
Cat Brooks at a 2018 fundraising event
Personal details
Sheilagh Polk

1975/1976 (age 43–44)[1]
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
ResidenceOakland, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas

Cat Brooks (born Sheilagh Polk) is an American activist, playwright, poet and theater artist. She was a mayoral candidate in Oakland's 2018 election, facing incumbent Libby Schaaf.


Brooks received her bachelor's degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she studied theater.[2] After graduating, she began her acting studying at the National Royal Theater Studio in London, before moving to Los Angeles and working at Creative Artists Agency. In 2002, Brooks joined the nonprofit organization Community Coalition, where she focused on issues of education and racial justice.[1]

After the shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer, Brooks became active in organizing against police violence.[1] She co-founded the Anti Police-Terror Project and served as the executive director for the Bay Area National Lawyers Guild.[3] Brooks also became an organizer for the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2015, Brooks was arrested protesting Mayor Libby Schaaf's ban on nighttime marches in public roadways.[1][4]

In 2018, after taking a break from radio to be a mayoral candidate in Oakland, Brooks returned to being co-host of the radio talk show UpFront on KPFA.[5] As candidate for mayor of Oakland, Brooks ran against the incumbent Libby Schaaf.[5] Her campaign involved collaborative assembly meetings intended to gather public feedback on local policies. She has endorsed repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.[4]

Her one-woman show Tasha is loosely based on Natasha McKenna, who was tasered to death in police custody.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Brooks was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, to a black father and a white mother. Brooks's mother was an anti-nuclear activist who took her to protests as a child.[1]

She lives with her husband and daughter in West Oakland.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Artz, Matthew (July 7, 2015). "Black Lives Matter leader Cat Brooks playing the role of her life". East Bay Times. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Meet Cat". Cat Brooks for Oakland. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  3. ^ Emslie, Alex (November 22, 2016). "Lawyers Group Blasts Oakland Cops for Response to Trump Protest". KQED. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Schuffman, Stuart (June 18, 2018). "Oakland Mayor's Race: The Evolution of Cat Brooks". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  5. ^ a b BondGraham, Darwin (May 1, 2018). "Oakland Elections: Cat Brooks Jumps in Mayor's Race". East Bay Express. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Janiak, Lily (July 28, 2018). "Oakland mayoral hopeful Cat Brooks brings activism to stage with SF's 3Girls". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 21, 2018.

External links[edit]