Posted on Leave a comment

5 ways you can impact your community, we will help!

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 un housed 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 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.

  1. Volunteer , showing peers that your time is valuable and you still donated it to the less fortunate is huge.
  2. Bring awareness to issues un-housed residents face.
  3. 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.
  4. Donate used ( in good shape) items, your extra tent can mean a teenager has a place to sleep.
  5. 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.

” We don’t talk about it, we be about it”

Join us!

 

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Farming & chillin in Oakland

City Slicker Farms 032

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.City Slicker Farms 104

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.City Slicker Farms g

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.

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.

 

 

+

 

 

 

volunteer at or visit City Slicker Farms!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

KBLX Cares, STEM and art meet for equity

SPIRIT-300x225
(STERLING JAMES, DALILA DYNES, RAVI VALLETI)

Listen HERE!

OR VISIT

KBLX Cares Interview with Sterling James: Spirit of Oakland

 

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.
Posted on Leave a comment

The Warriors, #BbqBecky, #JoggerJoe , & the Town.

donation drive homeless

                                                                July 13th 1:00-4:00 pm

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

 

29177744_772915269569927_6839922635639909948_n

Posted on Leave a comment

Conflict resolution and Oakland Trap Music?

 

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.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Earth Day Hike Bike &Stroll

On April 22  we hosted Hikes Bikes and Strolls in Joaquin Miller Park and Lake Merritt.

 

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Demonstrating love

Activism is hard , but being marginalized is harder.

We have all witnessed the depressed encampments throughout Oakland. No one knows what to do about it.  No one has a solution for the housing crisis, the job market or the discrepancy in wealth for the %1 and  %99.

We decided to focus on what could be done. We could show our  community how much we care by cooking the people in homeless encampments a warm breakfast.

We partnered with Kenny’s Heart and Soul food, truck.  Our “demonstration” of inclusion and love just so happened to fall on Easter Sunday. And unfortunately on Kenny’s only off day in months.

He donated his kitchen, his expertise and his time at 6 am. The volunteers showed up, some armed in their own aprons and we were off to a great start.We made pancakes (the first batch was hilarious) and sausage , loaded the truck and visited all of the encampments on the West side/downtown.

There were no speeches, and no introductions to our cause, No selfies etc. We were met by the community with appreciation and some with shame. I wished they understood that  we share in the shame of their positions, partially benefiting from an unfair society.We felt deeply humbled by the experience and fortunate to be the ones in the position to give and also happy to do so.

Giving is but one part of receiving.

-Spirit of Oakland

Dalila Dynes

17991153_639289542941325_9028659004520938054_n.jpg

Posted on Leave a comment

Supporting Trans Youth

Nicole Whisler organized an amazing group of local Artists  for ” Soft Fade” A benefit event for hair stylists, barbers and photographers to bring their gear to New Parish, cut some hair take some portraits. Partying, celebrating individuality and raising funds for Trans youth organizations . Translifeline and The Time Is Now/

What a great way to spend a  an afternoon. Definitely the Spirit of Oakland

trans youth benefit 1140trans youth benefit 1278trans youth benefit 846trans youth benefit 920trans youth benefit 901trans youth benefit 1226trans youth benefit 1235trans youth benefit 1093trans youth benefit 1294trans youth benefit 1212trans youth benefit 1160-001trans youth benefit 932trans youth benefit 934trans youth benefit 1034trans youth benefit 1066trans youth benefit 1080trans youth benefit 982trans youth benefit 973trans youth benefit 995trans youth benefit 1262trans youth benefit 1102trans youth benefit 862trans youth benefit 1111trans youth benefit 877trans youth benefit 1112trans youth benefit 1305trans youth benefit 1251trans youth benefit 1254trans youth benefit 1314trans youth benefit 1313