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Alicia Medina

Queer Muslims claim their space in the East Bay

“Choose discomfort over resentment” reads the tattoo on Shenaaz Janmohamed’s right arm. The Oakland-based psychotherapist, who has Muslim South Asian origins, defines herself as a “queer femme mama.” She became a mother two years ago, and said that change gave her “clarity” to devote her time to healing her community: queer Muslims. Janmohamed is a minority within a minority. She identifies as a Shia queer, and is in a relationship with a genderqueer partner (a person who identifies with neither,…

Anti-war rally protests American influence on foreign countries and violence within the U.S.

Andrea Turner has been singing protest songs against war for four decades. On Sunday morning, she joined the Rally against “US Wars at Home and Abroad,” organized by a coalition called Spring Action 2018. At the Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland, speakers not only raised their concerns about American influence in the Philippines, Yemen or Syria, but they also denounced violence against the black community within the United States. Among the attendees was former Oakland mayor Jean Quan.

East Bay women build a net of support to help cope with the fear of deportation

Every morning in front of Melrose Leadership Academy, the same choreography is repeated: the uproar of the children arriving at the school displaces squirrels and birds to the cherry and palm trees that adorn the sidewalk. At this public school, in the sanctuary city of Oakland, people exchange greetings in Spanish. The first poster near the school’s entrance doesn’t inform parents about opening hours or extracurricular activities. Instead, it states: “You have rights, don’t let ICE or police enter your…

St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Oakland

The soundtrack of Telegraph Avenue at 29th Street is composed of the roar of cars, trucks and the number 6 and 800 buses. There aren’t many passersby on this summery morning. A white car blaring hip hop music stops at the intersection, breaking the monotony of the traffic sounds. The driver stares to his left at a red wooden building: St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. It’s closed. It’s 11 am on a Monday, and even God has a schedule. Meanwhile, on…

Oakland activists rally to free imprisoned Palestinian teen

On January 31, Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian activist, turned 17 years old behind bars in an Israeli prison. Almost 8,000 miles away, in Oakland, Rania Salem, another 17-year-old Palestinian activist from San Francisco, joined a rally to celebrate Tamimi’s birthday and demand her release. Tamimi could face 10 years in prison after being charged with aggravated assault and 11 other charges. On December 18, a video of her slapping two Israeli soldiers went viral. That same day, her cousin Mohamed…

Two Oakland women find healing through abortion activism—on opposite sides

On a sunny January morning, two Oakland women took up banners and headed to San Francisco to participate in a demonstration. Both had ended a pregnancy and both have since found healing in activism. But a few blocks separated the two. One was part of the “14th Annual Walk for Life West Coast,” and the second was countering that walk at the “Rally for Reproductive Justice.” At the intersection of 7th and Market streets, a modest crowd of 50 people…

White Elephant Preview Sale helps fund the Oakland museum

Doris Lilly took her time deciding between three different sets of croquet equipment. “This is vintage and it just cost me $15. I knew I would be able to find it here,” she said confidently, picking one set. Lilly grew up playing croquet with her family. Later she would play with friends, but it has been ten years since she played her beloved game. Now, she is enthusiastic to play again. “I can’t wait to play croquet with my son,”…

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