Health of the Hood: Merritt/Cleveland Heights

By Sabirah Mustafa – I began my journey through my family’s neighborhood in the Lake Merritt area of East Oakland. My starting point was on Lester Avenue. This diverse, working-to-middle class, ethnically mixed neighborhood, is what I’d like to call the “Oakland Riviera”. The name might seem misleading, because depending on which direction you walk, you might also find blight as well. Located within a three-block area of Lake Merritt, there is plenty of contrast – so much so that at times my journey felt like I crossed city limits into an entirely different town.

Health of the Hood: 73rd & Bancroft/Eastmont

By Sheila Blandon – My neighborhood is one long narrow block. The streets are very close together with long blocks. There are a lot of homes with families, only a few apartments. The streets are kind of clean – cleaner than other neighborhoods around the East. The block of 69th avenue is pretty friendly and welcoming. There are always a lot of people outside. We sometimes throw BBQs in front of our home on the porch.

Health of the Hood: Maxwell Park

By Ronald Owens – The neighborhood is primarily residential, with single family homes on Walnut Street. Walking west on High Street from Walnut Street, the residences are mostly apartment buildings and there are a funeral home and a few retail stores, including a Laundromat, a hair salon, a pizza joint, a couple of auto repair shops, and a used appliance store.

Health of the Hood: Maxwell Park

By Katrina Davis – I’ve lived in this neighborhood since I was 2 years old. It’s pretty quiet and suburban. I know some of my neighbors, and they even come over from time to time for events. The crimes that happen here and there are mainly break-ins, but other than that it’s pretty quiet. Everyone seems to have a pretty nice front yard and keeps it up.

“Don’t take away my ‘Shine'”: New Film Spotlights Bay Area Youth Facing Mental Health Challenges

By Katherine Brown – The atmosphere of the room is thick with joy and hope. Young women donning colorful, flowing gowns, and beautifully coiffed hair, laugh and giggle as they line up for group pictures. Young men in tailored suits, and hair neatly trimmed, shake hands and greet each other as they enter the room.

Health of the Hood: Mills College/Seminary Ave

By Katherine Brown – Each of our correspondents took roughly a 3 square-block walk around their neighborhood, taking stock of the area’s services, stores, homes, schools, and especially how people in the community were living their lives. The goal is to give real, detailed texture to our understanding of the quality of life in East Oakland’s neighborhoods from the perspectives of people who live there. These pieces were done in conjunction with Oakland Tribune Violence Reporting Fellow Scott Johnson’s Oakland Effect project.