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.
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. The people that are always outside are often drinking alcohol, dancing, and smoking weed. They don’t bother anyone and they are familiar with everyone on the block. Everybody knows each other and speaks to one another. We are a urban community filled with Latinos and African Americans.
Near my home, there is an alley way which leads to a corner store. They sell vegetables and some fruits but it’s a little store so they don’t have much, and don’t sell any alcohol. However, on the other side on 73rd we have a liquor store. This store is bigger and sells more. They sell meat, liquor and some vegetables.
Schools and Parks:
Up the street we have Markham Elementary, which is a public school. The school is either fairly new or it has been remodeled, because it looks good. When I drive by and they are in recess, I see them playing outside in a nice courtyard. We have no parks near our neighborhood.
There is a Bank of America, as well as a supermarket, clothing and shoe stores, and the welfare and police departments. Most of the people that visit are African Americans and Latinos.
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