Editor’s Note: Talk of the Town highlights the voices of Oakland residents.
For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a stop to travel, movement, and business as usual. But that didn’t stop Oaklanders from exploring.
Oakland Voices correspondent Trinity Thompson asked Oakland residents, “What’s something new you discovered about Oakland or the Oakland community during the pandemic?” Their answers are varied and similar, complementary and conflicting, and ultimately reflect the diversity of perspectives and experiences within Oakland.
I learned about the Cleveland Cascade. I knew it was there but I didn’t know about the history and that it used to have water flowing down it like a waterfall and a lighting display at night. I’m a light designer so I thought that was pretty cool when I came across a plaque that talks about it. There’s so many places like that to spend time outside now.
Oakland takes the pandemic very seriously. There’s masks everywhere. But I live near the lake and there’s community here. Always things going on and people gathering here. It’s a chance to meet people.
I gained a new appreciation for the playgrounds when we couldn’t go to them. We missed the vibrant culture and the different people we’d see there. And of course, we miss the schools.
Dwight, Mohammad, John, Gregory, Anderson
- Anderson: Community. I’m retired and life after work can be boring. But I’m here [at Lake Merritt] every day now with this group. Five days a week. We drink coffee, hang out, spend an hour or two together.
- Dwight: The underbelly of racism. All the Karens don’t want to follow any of the rules. There’s lots of entitlement here. I thought I left [racism] behind in Arkansas but it was here waiting for me too and the pandemic showed it.
- John: Just how different the generations are. What’s important to us [elders] isn’t important to the youth of today. We were politically active. They’re doing other stuff.
- Mohammad: My wife just passed. It’s lonely. Have to wear a mask. Have to stay separated. Can’t find a date.
- Gregory: I can’t imagine anywhere else in the world being so diverse. Here, hanging at the lake- there’s so many races, ages, people… I’ve lived here for 72 years and always knew it was diverse. But coming to the lake every day- I actually experienced it.
What have you discovered about Oakland since the pandemic?
Trinity is part of Oakland Voices’ 2021 class of Community Correspondents.