We have suspended all events and campaigns to provide N-95 face masks to medical staff and un-housed people . We have already purchased 400 N-95 masks as well as disposable jumpsuits. Fundraising was not needed as we used profits from our clothing line to purchase medical gear.
We need your help to make a greater impact at a crucial time!
Please support local medical staff and make a tax deductible donation today!Donate Now
Each month community builders, gather to share our success stories, eat amazing food , lick our wounds, & offer our resources. Last month volunteers from each of these organizations attended, we compiled this list for your convenience.
A List Of Organizations Making A Difference
Founded in 2008 by residents of the Lake Merritt neighborhoods in Oakland, this group began IRL before the Facebook Group existed and serves as a conduit of positive community-building efforts, including great events and fun, productive meetups. (Also known as The Lake People’s Group and Lake Peeps back in the day). We maintain a kind, respectful forum. Your solution-focused and action-oriented contributions are encouraged. Find On Facebook
March for Science
We are the world’s largest grassroots community of science advocates, organizing for a more sustainable and just future. Our movement has organized more than 1000 public demonstrations globally and mobilized more than one million supporters as advocates for science and justice. Help us keep the momentum going. Visit Website
Multistate Tax Commission
The Multistate Tax Commission is an intergovernmental state tax agency working on behalf of states and taxpayers to facilitate the equitable and efficient administration of state tax laws that apply to multistate and multinational enterprises. The commission was created in 1967 as an effort by states to protect their tax authority in the face of previous proposals to transfer the writing of key features of state tax laws from the state legislature. For that reason, the Commission has been a voice for preserving the authority of states to determine their own tax policy within the limits of the U.S. Constitution. Visit Website
Poor People’s Campaign
In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America. They sought to build a broad, fusion movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country. Their name was a direct cry from the underside of history: The Poor People’s Campaign. Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work. Building a movement to overcome systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy. Visit Website
Regional Access Working Group
The Regional Advisory Working Group, or RAWG, meets periodically to provide input on updates to Plan Bay Area from private residents, local governments, advocacy groups and others. MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments in 2015 established a Regional Equity Working Group under the RAWG umbrella to support social equity planning and analysis in the development of Plan Bay Area 2050. The Regional Equity Working Group includes RAWG members and representatives from MTC’s Policy Advisory Council’s Equity and Access Subcommittee. Visit Website
Spirit of Oakland
We are residents united for a greater impact. We raise funds donating 100% for a healthy, diverse community. Amplifying the voices of youth, elderly, homeless and disabled people is our mission. We cultivate a healthy community by offering residents the tools to positively engage with and support one another. We do this through awareness campaigns, products, and benefit concerts. Oakland is one of the more diverse cities in the world, it is imperative that the spirit of art activism and equity be taught to newcomers and celebrated. Find On Facebook
United Way Bay Area
We activate individuals and organizations to break the cycle of poverty in the Bay Area by building financial capability among residents. We are fighting to remove barriers to success and improve lives. We create poverty-fighting programs that scale and drive impact. We are also a catalyst that inspires people to invest in each other to strengthen and transform our communities. We address the needs of our community through three areas of impact. Visit Website
Youth Impact Hub
Youth Impact Hub supports the leadership of low-income youth of color in creating an equitable, life-affirming economy by providing socially innovative training, collaborative co-working space and access to networks and resources. Visit Website
Earn It! Keep it! Save it!
Provides free tax preparation to low- to moderate-income individuals, families, and seniors. Tax returns are prepared by trained and IRS-certified volunteers at local community organizations. Visit Website
Marc Schechter aka Pizzaman contacted the Spirit of Oakland to help bring his delicious pizza to encampment residents. Marc is from the East Coast and although he may be seen as an outsider, he didn’t let that stop him.
The encampment we served is one we’ve worked with earlier this year in an event called “Walk a Mile” where unhoused residents took to the stage to inform the audience about the true nature and scope of the housing crisis but also ways they can get involved, safely and without being offensive. We brought those teachings, along with some empathetic listening and harm reduction strategies to empower volunteer that day to help and not harm.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Leilani Farha inspected the same encampment and witnessed conditions of ” systemic cruelty”. Coincidentally there was a fire at the encampment early this morning. City officials, activists are convening at noon today at City Hall to, again discuss more solutions.
While politicians are powerful in their ability to make large scale changes, Individual residents are powerful in making a stronger and more meaningful local impact.
Demonstrating the belief that all people are equal by serving our most marginalized and in need of residents is huge. Most people just talk and that does not create the change that action does.
There are ways you can impact your community – we will help.
Volunteer, showing peers that your time is valuable and you still donated it to the less fortunate is huge.
Bring awareness to issues un-housed residents face.
Understand and share the fact that anyone can become homeless – There are many causes like illness/accident, death of support system, or loss of employment.
Donate used ( in good shape) items, your extra tent can mean a teenager has a place to sleep.
Donate money to drives that deliver on their promise to provide needed supplies to encampments.
There are many ways a person can safely get involved, show solidarity and create a positive impact in Oakland.
Thank you to all the volunteers, Homeless Action Center, Sol the massage therapist and Marc Schechter for his vision, support, and determination.
City Slicker Farms located in west Oakland provides free and sliding scale fresh veggies, fruit and volunteer opportunities to residents. This morning I was invited to photograph Rodney, the Executive Director. He made breakfast for us , eggs sausage, biscuits , jam and coffee to wash it all down. I wasn’t expecting a full breakfast, and I wasn’t turning one down either. He and his assistants Eric and William were building a new shed for their tractor. I was impressed to see Rodney teach them to measure accurately without using traditional tools . The farm has everything from veggies to fruit you can pick and eat off the vine, and beautiful flowers. We talked about work life balance – which he gets by visiting home often, traveling abroad, healthy eating and an occasional beer.
Jazz music blaring, I photographed him as he shared that his work- life balance comes from not giving (AF) too much energy to things that don’t matter- so that there is enough energy for priorities. Himself, his family, his life’s purpose, which is part to build community right there in West Oakland.
I asked him about the wonderful vibe and overall ambiance of the farm, and he reminded me of a very diverse group of people I’d met there previously. A chef, massage therapist, a forager, a drummer and a man who was disabled and homeless. He told me its not easy because of the different kinds of people the farm attracts. He knows how to relate to people of many backgrounds and its served him as he has had to defend people against racism, show people the value of being a part of the community versus not being part, and maintain peace when it was threatened, by any means.
Executive Director Rodney
The young men learning to build and farm appreciated getting a free workout and fresh food locally, as well as the network of really cool people they’ve made friends with. Sounds like the best kind of gardening is happening there,growing community.
RAVI VALLETI IS THE FUTURIST AUTHOR OF HIS DEVELOPING ‘POSTHUMAN MEMOIR’ CALLED “ROCKET SCIENTIST.” HE IS THE LEAD ACTOR OF “DEVISED” AND IS IN “OVERWHELM THE SKY,” BOTH UPCOMING INDEPENDENT FEATURE FILMS. RAVI VOLUNTEERS AS CARETAKER OF OAKSCI – OAKLAND COALITION FOR SCIENCE AND AS A #MARGINSCI ADVISOR TO THE MARCH FOR SCIENCE MOVEMENT. HE EARNED A DOUBLE B.S. IN MECHANICAL & AEROSPACE ENGINEERING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE CAMPUSWIDE HONORS PROGRAM. RAVI GREW UP IN SANTA CLARA AND NOW LIVES IN OAKLAND.
DALILA DYNES IS A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR,ACTIVIST, PHILANTHROPIST AND FOUNDER OF SPIRIT EQUITY AND ARTS. DALILA IS NATIVE TO OAKLAND.
Oakland has made international news quite a bit in the last few months. Unity swept in with the Warriors season. Fans share camaraderie as one team, gold and blue. Regardless of physical markers like race, affluence or power ,we all scream for the same team. But once the parade is over, the jersey off and all have returned back to our individual ways of life, it seems that bias and bigotry ensue and situations like #BbqBecky and #JoggerJoe divide communities further apart.
The housing market crash , which is now being called the ‘homeless crisis’ has earned Oakland a visit from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Leilani Farha who was quoted as saying “I find there to be a real cruelty in how people are being dealt with here,” But it has also earned us #JoggerJoe – an enraged white man who was filmed attacking and humiliating a homeless Black man by throwing his belongings in Lake Merritt, then destroying the cell phone of a witness. This makes clear exactly why POC feel pushed out , excluded and victimized.
When a white woman #BBQBecky harassed , intimidated and called the police, unnecessarily on a Black family for using coal at a Lake Merritt Cookout – It triggered a collective anger ,because of the current and historical violence and murder inflicted on POC , LGBT, and disabled communities by police. People are now aware of the weaponizing of police.
Both videos went viral and the outcry of support for the victims worldwide was so great , it helped authorities and corporations identify this behavior as problematic and dangerous to our entire society. Arrests were made as a result .
These two events signify a need for residents to provide consistent and ongoing support to our own homeless marginalized neighbors ,
And a need for radical reconciliation of oppressive behaviors inflicted by those with power .
What if we operated more like a team, regardless of the sports season?
For the last 2 years, a ‘team’ of Oaklanders, new and native have provided ongoing support through benefit concerts, volunteering , raising funds and donating 100% to homeless,youth,elderly, disabled, and immigrant neighbors. We raise awareness to make space for those in need, to remain with dignity in Oakland. Join the team.
Our Motto ” You can go fast alone, or far together” -African Proverb
West Oakland is technically the smallest section of Oakland but has the most housing projects, and has always been known for music (the blues on 7th street) , activism ( Huey P Newton is from there) and for being riddled with violence. Only recently has there been peace. Most can attribute it to the leadership of the artist community uniting though conflict resolution and ultimately in music. Taco Dell and company produced ” the West Oakland Anthem- a fun fast paced rap song about challenges , overcoming them. None of which was possible before heavy mediation and conflict resolution employed by Taco, and the community. They deserve our attention for the music and leading the way in inclusion, reversing negativity in the community. one block at a time.
We interviewed filmmaker Thomas Carter behind the scenes at the video shoot.
On April 22 we hosted Hikes Bikes and Strolls in Joaquin Miller Park and Lake Merritt.
Joaquin Miller Park
our Earth day Hike Bike and Stroll
Earth Day Hike Bike and Stroll- Yes Oakland has a pyramid!
The goal was to connect with neighbors in a healthy fun activity that could include everyone.
Some of us have disabilities that restrict our participation, but that did not stand in our way. Our friends in wheel chairs were given rides and assisted so they could participate in the stroll, a new mommy with a set of twins was happy that there was an activity for her. And those active hikers and bicyclists had a ball tracking through new territory!
On one of the hikes a 7 year old led the way dialing in “passcodes” to the trees to “alert the fairies of our presence for protection.” We discovered Oakland’s own pyramid… and plants that can be used as soap.Who knew?
Great day exploring and celebrating the Earths bountiful gifts.