Sabirah Mustafa

About Sabirah Mustafa
Sabirah Mustafa is a community liaison and cultural enthusiast. “My aim in life is to facilitate, inform, and educate others,” Sabirah says, “about what is happening in our community and society at large in order to share our stories, bridge our differences, and create a more welcoming world.”

My Magic Pill

Sabirah Mustafa photo

This piece was done in collaboration with the What’s Your Story? Project of KQED’s California Report. By Sabirah Mustafa I used to wish for a magic pill what would enable me to swallow away my problems so I could successfully navigate my unfulfilled life. But when I found it, it wasn’t in any pharmacy. For […]

Why I Go to Oakland’s Public City Meetings, & You Should, Too

Edward C. Ford, 52, response to public policy "Show me your footwork. Do what you say."

By Sabirah Mustafa If you attend town hall meetings, protests, and demonstrations, you may have heard the public demanding to be heard when public policies affect them. But when I recently attended two meetings – Alameda County Mental Health Board (ACMHB) and BART’s Citizen Review Board (CRB) – I discovered very few members of the […]

PHOTOS: Health of the Hood – Cleveland Heights

Blocked storm drains from leaves and debris cause can flooding on the streets and sidewalks. 
Photo by Sabirah Mustafa, Oakland Voices 2012

By Sabirah Mustafa Cleveland Heights has a lot of natural beauty, but requires diligent maintenance. Otherwise, leaves back up storm drains, and tree branches block out street lights and sidewalks. Blight and vandalism, while not extensive throughout the neighborhood, appear in pockets around the commercial areas.  The residential areas are generally well-maintained.  


Recovery by Sabirah Mustafa   Tell me What is recovery? Is it what you recover from? Like the opposite of subtraction that uncovers a sum? Or, Is it what you recover to? Like a transparent explanation previously misconstrued? Is it a chance that’s always given? With motives never hidden? The Discovery? Ultimately What is recovery? […]

Former Drug-Dealing ‘Street Star’ Becomes Youth Mentor

"I have a passion for juvenile justice", says native Oaklander Michael Gibson.  photo by Sabirah Mustafa Oakland Voices 2012.

Like Sankofa – the mythical bird in West African culture that symbolizes going back to retrieve things lost in order to move forward – Michael Gibson also had to go back and reconnect, while he was incarcerated, with his own history. He regularly draws on his past struggles to help him improve his life, and those of others.

Native American Mental Health More Than A Dream

Janet King CRDP 017

By Sabirah Mustafa Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes asked the question,”what happens to a dream deferred?” “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?,” goes his famous poem Harlem, “or does it explode?” The dream of quality mental health care for many under served groups, including Native Americans, has been deferred too long. […]

‘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. […]

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.