Author Archives OCO Staff

  • All this week, CNBC is taking a look at how the financial crisis has impacted American cities with its “Critical Condition: Saving America’s Cities” series. One of the cities they are featuring is Oakland. Monday’s story featured OCO leader Rev. Curtis Robinson, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, who used to be a stockbroker before going into the ministry.

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  • The Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform is working with Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) and county partners to sponsor a series of meetings seeking residents input on the proposed Community Advisory Board for prison realignment. The Coalition is composed of community-based organizations and individuals committed to creating a fair and just public safety system. A restorative and sustainable system, based on effective practices that invest in our communities, our families, and our people, minimizes criminalization and acknowledges that detention and incarceration impoverish our communities and harm public safety.

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  • Our Lifelines works has been picking up over the last couple of months. We co-hosted a community strategy meeting in Berkeley to figure out how to reverse California’s trend of having the largest number of prisoners in the country. That meeting was full of energy and kicked off a series of meetings in Fresno and one more taking place in Los Angeles. We held a community meeting with Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and other partners to get input on the proposed Community Advisory Board, which the Alameda County Board of Supervisors have been directed to form as part of the county’s response to the historic prison Realignment process that has been underway for the past two years. Another one is planned with Supervisor Nate Miley on Nov. 5.

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  • Some superintendents have a pat answer when asked to assess the quality of their schools – they’re all equally good, they might respond. But Gary Yee, the new acting superintendent of Oakland Unified School District, had a different answer when parent Maria Zaragoza asked why her child’s high school does not have any of the innovative educational programs available at some of the district’s top-performing high schools. Yee sprang from his chair and without hesitation made a public pledge: “I accept the challenge you put to us to make every school better.” That was, after all, why Yee and about 100 parents, teachers, school administrators, students and city leaders, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, had gathered on a chilly Wednesday morning last week on the soccer field at Life Academy of Health and Bioscience, a high school in East Oakland.

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  • Hoping to encourage more kids to graduate high school and pursue college, Oakland Unified School District announced Wednesday an expanded program of career internships for high schoolers and enlisted the help of the Peralta Community College District and the City of Oakland. The three institutions agreed to make “Linked Learning” opportunities possible for all high school seniors with the hope that as many as 80 percent of them will participate.

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  • City, educational, business and community leaders announced today a new citywide effort focused on closing the academic achievement gap for Oakland high school students. The partnership will collaborate on an expansion of Linked Learning, a college and career preparatory strategy that integrates rigorous academics with technical education, work-based learning, real-world job experiences, and social support and intervention services.

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  • Today a coalition of faith, community and business leaders released the results of a recent poll of Oakland voters toward funding for public safety measures. This coalition was led by East Bay Asian Youth Center, Jobs & Housing Coalition, Make Oakland Better Now!, Oakland Community Organizations and Youth Alive. The research was conducted by Goodman Simon Associates in partnership with David Binder Research.

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  • Although the A’s got knocked out of the playoffs, we still have a reason to celebrate in Oakland. Five bills that we supported along with our PICO California sister organizations all got signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

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  • Parishioners from St. Anthony Catholic Church have taken their leadership to a whole new level with the altar they recently completed to bring more awareness to the need for a path to citizenship. Fr. Jesus Nieto-Ruiz, pastor of St. Anthony’s, said the leaders decided to create the altar to provide a sacred space where people of faith who care about immigration reform could share their pain and be reminded of why they’re organizing. While Congress is still debating how to move forward with immigration legislation, it’s becoming even more urgent for elected officials to hear why a pathway to citizenship needs to be included in the final bill.

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  • The call-ins have been a key part of our Lifelines strategy since Ceasefire restarted in Oakland last year. Despite some of the controversy about Ceasefire in the media, the call-ins have been an effective way to build relationships with those most at-risk of committing violence in the community. The sessions allow us to meet with those folks caught up in the violence and give them alternatives to prison. The participants get stern warnings from the police about the consequences of continuing down a violent path. However, the participants also get to talk with key clergy and community leaders about the alternatives possible. Services are always offered, and most of the time a number of the participants take them.

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