OCO leaders have been developing a longterm economic development strategy for the East Bay.

The work will begin with our regional economic summit in December. An inter-racial, intergenerational, inter-organizational group of leaders have been working hand-in-hand to create a collective, comprehensive analysis of the East Bay economy. The goal is to produce a strategy to get low-income people of color—and excluded workers in general—quality jobs.

Leading up to the summit, we have been administering surveys, facilitating community meetings, reviewing economic data and holding research meetings with key powerbrokers. At the summit, over 250 leaders will review and refine our analysis and kick off an East Bay economic development organizing campaign. OCO is playing a key role in bringing together PICO affiliates in the East Bay and a diverse group of uncommon allies from Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley and South Alameda County. We’ve completed over 500 surveys so far as we march forward to a productive summit and a resultant powerful economic development campaign.

Over the past year, OCO leaders, in partnership with other allies, have successfully led an effort to improve the Realignment process in Alameda County.

Here are some of the wins we’ve been able to achieve on the local level with our mass incarceration work:

  • Increase the percentage of resources for service provision to formerly incarcerated individuals.
  • Get commitments for the implementation of an evaluation that examines the reduction of recidivism.
  • Get a commitment to establish a community voice for Alameda County through the development of a Community Advisory Board.

We are now adding a statewide strategy to refine Realignment so that there is a legislated community voice and standards for directing more Realignment resources to services for the formerly incarcerated throughout the state. To that end, we are partnering with the Ella Baker Center and PICO California affiliates—Faith in Community-Fresno and LA VOICE—to hold mass incarceration proctor hearings in Berkeley, Fresno and L.A. over the next two months. (Find out more about our hearing on Saturday in the events section.)

These meetings will involve educating the community about how to end the cycle of mass incarceration and holding conversations with key elected officials and allies to develop pathways forward to change the punitive, ineffective criminal justice system in California. After that, key PICO leaders will be meeting with state legislators and staffers to develop our platform for the coming legislative cycle.