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Alondra De La Cruz

For East Bay immigrants, notary fraud is a common legal threat

Notary fraud is a common set-up in which notaries unlawfully give legal advice to immigrants, and in many cases, pretend to be immigration attorneys. The scam often involves the notary reviewing a victim’s case, choosing which legal documents are appropriate for their case, helping complete these documents, and submitting them to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Office—all acts only lawyers have the authority to do.

Immigration experts and advocates say that notary fraud is one of the biggest issues facing the undocumented community. “It is also a big problem in the East Bay and surrounding areas in Northern California,” said Barbara Pinto, an immigration senior staff attorney at the Centro Legal de la Raza, a legal service agency for immigrants’ rights, located in Oakland.

Alem’s Coffee in Oakland

In the corner of Vicente Way and Claremont in Oakland lies what is a hidden treasure to many, but to others, a jewel in plain sight: Alem’s Coffee, which serves Eritrean food and is a gathering spot for the East African community. As you enter the strategically-placed corner coffee shop, the scent of coffee hits you in the face, then the scent of different spices punches you in the stomach. The sun shines brightly into the seating area through the…

Restore Oakland combines restorative justice and economics

Several Oakland organizations are uniting to bring economic growth to the city by opening a community advocacy and training center in a renovated building on International Boulevard, in the center of the Fruitvale community. Restore Oakland will provide community members with job preparation programs and offer services like a tenants’ rights clinic and a restaurant that will also be a work training site.

Open mic highlights experiences of women of color

In Berkeley, the La Peña Cultural Center and the UC Berkeley Womxn of Color Initiative hosted an open mic night on January 26 called “Empowering Women of Color Open Mic.”  The event opened a three-show series intended to provide a safe space for women of color to express themselves.

After two years, Oakland nearing goal for high school ethnic studies courses

Jason Muñiz stands in the door frame that separates his classroom from the bright hallway full of lockers, with his hands holding onto the frame behind him. He looks back and forth from the high school students who are greeting each other before taking a seat inside the classroom, and welcomes the ones who are just walking in. When the school bell rings, Muñiz walks to the front of the classroom, closing the door behind him. “Thank you for being…

City council approves Oak Knoll development project

Oak Knoll is a housing development project that will bring new commerce and housing to the East Oakland. But even though housing is much needed in Oakland, some Oaklanders stand against the project because it does not set aside any units as affordable housing.

Senate Bill 63 passes, guarantees small business workers unpaid leave

Senate Bill 63, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 12, will make about 2.8 million small business workers in the state qualified to take the unpaid leave to bond with their newborn, or with a child they have recently adopted or are fostering. They will have a guaranty of job security when they return. The new law will come into effect January 1, 2018.

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