Racially Profiling: The Blacks of East Oakland, Part 2

Janice Ward   (R. Owens)

“I’m an evangelist and a motivational speaker. I can read people. I could see that you were a guarded person when you asked if you could talk with me.” I couldn’t disagree with her. “You’re passive-aggressive. Writing down what people say. I used to be passive, too. I can show you how to use aggression. Give me three hours, I can have you rewired.” Just three hours? I asked Ward if she could give me a weave, and joked that I’d come in for one and she could straighten me out then. She laughed. “Give me three hours. I’m gonna call you! I’m serious!”

Artist and Teacher Todd Elkin Brings Hybrid Approach to East Bay High School

Artist and teacher Todd Elkin has made hundreds of accordion books for himself and with students
Oakland Voices/Debora Gordon August 2012

By Debora Gordon “I learn from my students every day,” says Oakland artist and high school teacher Todd Elkin. “What is going in my classroom is a dialogue between myself and my students.” Describing himself as a hybrid of artist and teacher, he says both skill sets are continually informing each other. “A great teacher has […]

‘Way Too Black’: Local Love Sustains Downtown Oakland Art Gallery

Baba Michael plays the Mbira the Omiiroo reception.
by Sabirah Mustafa. Oakland Voices 2012

By Sabirah Mustafa Do you want to feel good? Let go, and step into another world? If you live in Oakland, you don’t have to go far. Just downtown, at the corner of 14th Street and Franklin, is a magical place – an art gallery called Omiiroo. The name means “way too black” in Kenyan slang. […]

Poverty Puts Young Women on the Verge of Prostitution


Some women are forced to walk the streets, selling their bodies for cash. Mary Moore has never done that. Her exchange was different – not for drugs, or money, but just to keep a roof over her head. “I never done it before but I contemplated it. No woman should ever have to think about selling herself,” Moore said.

Oakland Pride: Did Family Focus Strip All the Gay Away?

Edward and friend Matthew, an Oakland native, at Gay Pride in New York City, 2001.

To me, Pride has always been a celebration of our status as sexual outsiders. By being outrageous, gender-fluid, kinky, and obscene, we hoped to change society and make it more accepting of gender and sexual variance – work that is far from over. Now more than ever, we need to shock, disgust, inspire, and teach. Including within our own community. The LGBT rights movement is now equated with gay marriage, the ultimate goal being acceptance of our relationships as “normal.” I fear that with each victory, the LGBT movement will loose a little more of its edge and increasingly turn against those that fall outside the new norm.

Sweet Memories: Sizing Up Obesity & My Love of Sugar

Mountains of sugar is not the only cause of the obesity epidemic. By Katherine Brown - Oakland Voices 2012.

If good food, exercise, and low stress are keys to fitness and beating back obesity, then I know lots of communities that are in big trouble. In order for us to even move the needle on this obesity issue, we have to consider so much more than what people or eating and how physically active they are. Bear in mind why people are eating what they eat, and why they aren’t being as physically active as they would like to be.

Candidates Share Ideas in Run Up to Oakland City Council Election


  By Howard Dyckoff A mixed crowd of about 100 attended the District 7 Candidate Forum on August 22nd.  In a friendly exchange of views, the 2 challengers, Beverly Williams and Sheryl Walton, discussed the major problems of Deep East Oakland and their ideas for improving conditions in the City Council district. Four-term incumbent Larry […]

‘Just Win, Baby!’ High Hopes for the Raider Nation & The Town

For "Eastbay Jay," the Oakland Raiders are number one in his book. Katherine Brown - Oakland Voices 2012.

By Katherine Brown Commitment to excellence. Pride and poise. As a Raider fan, these words go far beyond mere mottos for a football team with such an esteemed legacy. To me, these words are extensions of each and every fan that fills the stadium, as well as the spectators at home and the local sports […]

Right Around The Corner From It

Picardy Ave.

By Michael Holland Navigating through East Oakland, you will see two types of blocks. Some streets are well-paved. Those are usually lined with trees that bear fruit and nuts, and some that give color according to the season. The tree-lined, well-paved streets didn’t just get that way. They have been that way for years and […]