The Spirit of MLK’s Dream Alive in East Oakland

Urban Releaf volunteers prepare to plant trees

  Celebrating the 86th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth, East Oakland residents of District 7 organized an annual street clean-up and tree-planting.  More than 150 people from the neighborhood, East Oakland and neighborhoods beyond gathered to help organizer Mary Forte and friends beautify G Street between 92nd and 86th Avenues on a cool […]

Arnold Perkins, Community Change Agent in Transition

Arnold Perkins listens

After attending a Seventh-day Adventist National Conference in Oakland, the Perkins’ family in 1954 relocated from segregated Miami Florida to Oakland. Their eighth-grader son, Arnold, attended Golden Gate Academy, where white students teased him about his stuttering. “I kicked their asses and they expelled me, but I didn’t care. I continued fighting at Berkeley High,” […]

Ericka Huggins: a Life in Learning


Ericka Huggins, the activist, educator, and poet, begins her class at Merritt College “The Black Panther Party: Strategies for Organizing the People” by having students gather their desks around in a circle. She reminds them to turn in their extra credit on this final day of lecture. Though review of course material was on the […]

The Lights of East Oakland


In the darkest moments of people’s lives there appears to be an innate desire to search for hope. And evidence of that hope is often marked by reference to light. The month of December in the northern hemisphere is such a time. Ancient peoples sought light on the longest and darkest night of the year, […]

Undeterred by the ‘Hella Storm’ 200 Oakland Students Walk out for Michael Brown

Oakland student staged a “die-in” outside the Fruitvale Station Monday evening in support of the growing movement Black Lives Matter.

Oakland (December 15th, 2014)—Undeterred by the ‘Hella-Storm’, roughly 200 students, hailing from eight Oakland high schools staged a ‘die-in’ outside the Fruitvale BART station, disrupting business as usual for 4 minutes and 28 seconds. The demonstration briefly shut down the Fruitvale station. Students chanted and rallied one another as they protested the onslaught of police […]

Her Resilience: Women in Control of their Own Image

Her resilience concept art

Mural concept art by Nicole Gervacio Early in the morning on April 5th, 2014, the body of a young woman by the name of Kimberly Robertson was found, raped and beaten in Oakland’s F.M. Smith Park.  The incident took place just down Park Avenue from where recent college graduate Hazel Streete lived at the time. She […]

Community Ready

GradNation Fellows

“Community Ready,” a two word nugget these young fellows heard from Oakland Superintendent Antown Wilson, Saturday November 8, 2014, at the GradNation community summit an America’s Promise Alliance and AT&T event held at Laney College. All of the young men in the picture were asked, “What two things keep you in school.” Sixteen-year-old Luis Ramirez, shown […]

President’s Executive Order on Immigration: Voices from East Oakland

Immigration March

 Reactions to President Barack Obama’s Executive Order on immigration drew mixed responses from East Oakland residents. Known formally as the “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability and Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival” programs, these actions were long in coming but surprisingly unspectacular by all counts, with the exception of ideologically-opposed, law and order conservatives.  According […]

Black men counter media perception with ‘DetermiNation’


The grand jury decision in Ferguson to not indict police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, has left the hearts of the African-American community reeling—nationwide, and in Oakland, sending the message that black lives do not matter. While many in Oakland continue to protest the death of Michael Brown, an opportune and much-needed collaboration between United Roots […]

Fruitvale Legal Center expects large crowds after President’s Announcement


Fifteen minutes before the president announced his Executive Action on Immigration, top Oakland officials called Eleni Roubatis-Wolfe, Immigration Program Director of Centro Legal de la Raza. They wanted to know, like the many people who called Centro in the hours before the announcement, details of the administrative relief and the effect it would have on […]

The Invisible Hand in Our Hoods


While writing about the Ferguson shooting of an unarmed African -American teenager by a white police officer, I came across the concept of Structural Vulnerability. I met with Professor James Quesada from San Francisco State University, a medical anthropologist who has written and researched this topic extensively. I wanted him to help me understand how […]

Rebecca Kaplan’s campaign


As a 19- year- old who’s never voted or really been affiliated with politics,  Rebecca Kaplan’s campaign for mayor was an eye opener. I could see how so many people are very involved in politics but at the same not enough people from the community are involved. The campaign celebration accommodated the press, family members and […]

Quan’s Last Song

Mayor with youth

A sea of mostly empty circular tables adorned with white table cloth greeted me when I arrived at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant, Jean Quan’s campaign party location Tuesday night. Live music substituted for conversation before Quan’s spirited faithful trickled in to celebrate victory and slowly a medley of supporters’ voices began to compete with the musicians. […]

The Long Campaign


Early on in the summer, I met mayoral candidate Joe Tuman, endorsed by the Oakland Tribune, at Love Our Lake Day. He spoke with me about after-school programs and the Oakland Police Department, and even gave me his number in case I wanted to ask him more questions later. It was a surprisingly kind gesture, […]



  On election night I found myself at the headquarters of Libby Schaaf’s election party. I call it a party because it felt like one. The alcohol was copious (and free) and the people many. All ages and backgrounds. “A good picture of Oakland, minus the hipsters.’ as my Oakland Voices colleague,  Tiffany Lacsado,  described […]