Long-time residents share why they choose to stay in Oakland

How long have you lived in Oakland and what keeps you in here?

Oakland has a reputation in news media for violence, homelessness, and lawlessness. Prospective new homeowners or renters in the Bay Area might not list Oakland as their first choice to call home due to the relentless unpleasant coverage of the Town. 

Oakland Voices correspondent Joy Quilatan asked long-time residents in North Oakland what made them choose to stay.

How long have you lived in Oakland and what keeps you here?

Note: Talk of the Town highlights Oakland residents talking about the Town (aka the city of Oakland).

Fred Lewis

Fred Lewis

“I came here with my family when I was 12 years old and have lived here for 55 years. I love the city. When I was in high school, I was an intern at Kaiser Permanente and worked for Kaiser until I retired.” 

Fred Lewis, San Antonio

Rudy Colar

Rudy Colar

“I came to Oakland from New Orleans when I was 18  and I have lived in Oakland for 64 years. I stayed because I worked for the East Bay Transit for 24 years and I was a Merchant Seaman.”

Rudy Colar, Gaskill District

Ollie Boyd

Ollie Boyd

“I came from Kansas City and I lived in Oakland for 44 years. I stayed in Oakland because it has a lot of potential and great qualities to offer. Beautiful scenery, the weather is warmer, you meet a lot of intelligent and nice people around here. You can basically do anything you want, you can live like a bum, I live in my car, but you can turn your life around here if you just stay away from trouble.”

Ollie Boyd, Longfellow

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How long have you stayed in Oakland? And what keeps you here?

Author Profile

Joy Quilatan is a published academic writer and participant in the Oakland Voices Journalism Program who is passionate about shedding light on the undiscovered beauty of Oakland. As a BIPOC Queer global citizen, Joy is uniquely positioned to celebrate the city's distinct culture. Joy aims to use her background in healthcare and education to highlight the disparities in the community by applying a journalistic approach to her writing practice.

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