When it comes to sending a message to the community, one way to do it is to simply stand together. That’s what one Oakland organization is doing buy organizing a walk every Friday evening in some of the city’s most crime-heavy areas. Since 2012, Oakland has averaged around 860 aggravated assaults each year, with many of the incidents concentrated in East Oakland. Although these walks are organized by churches, they’ve attracted hundreds of secular participants.
Almost 30 men and women sit in long red pews at First Mount Sinai Baptist church in East Oakland. It’s 6 o’clock and this group is preparing for a weekly ritual.CONTINUE READING
Oakland’s students have been waiting too long to receive the education they deserve. The dropout rates for African-Americans and Latinos are too high, and the graduation rates are far too low.
Students who graduate aren’t necessarily ready for college or to move into jobs with dignity. We can’t wait any longer. We have waited long enough.
Recently, Oakland Community Organizations and the East Bay Asian Youth Center — two long-standing organizations that have worked together for decades to improve conditions for Oakland youths — led a public meeting involving the Oakland Unified School District to demand that our elected and district leaders create a transformed educational future for the city’s high school students.CONTINUE READING
Fr. Jesus Nieto-Ruiz was one of the community members invited to the Brooklyn Basin groundbreaking last week. The San Francisco Business Times covered the story.CONTINUE READING
The first test of Oakland Unified School District’s ability to include parents and students in making budget decisions — something now required by state law — happened Wednesday night when about 100 people asked the school board to let schools, rather than the central administration, decide how to spend a pot of money. The students and parents won.CONTINUE READING
As we enter 2014, it is important to recognize some important progress in the ongoing fight to eliminate the scourge of violent crime in Oakland. From 2012 to 2013, Oakland’s homicide rate dropped by 28 percent. While we are still far from our goal of zero homicides, 39 fewer lives lost is worth celebrating. At the same time, to effectively build upon this progress, it is critically important that we understand what has brought us to this point.CONTINUE READING
During the year, a white cross bearing the name and birthdate, if known, of each murder victim is placed in front of St. Columba. At the end-of-the-year ceremony, participants join together in song and prayer, which is followed by the removing of the crosses, reading the names of those killed, a procession and testimonials of friends and family members.CONTINUE READING
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.CONTINUE READING
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.CONTINUE READING
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.CONTINUE READING
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.CONTINUE READING