Celeste Hamilton Dennis

HEAR/HERE truck delivers history and reconnects neighbors in a changing Oakland

Terri Woodfolk-Nelson wants to give back to the neighborhood she grew up in.  It’s why she’s hosting a picnic and story share at Dover Park on a Saturday in October, talking to 50 or so of her neighbors. A third-generation North Oaklander, she points to the nearby potluck table and says she’s brought figs from her tree because she always had them as a kid. “The neighborhood was really connected. There was a strong sense of community and people really…

‘We need to be celebrated’: Joy takes center stage at trans queer Diwali event

Anjali Rimi is unapologetic about stepping into the light. And as the co-founder of Parivar Bay Area — a transgender-led, transgender-centering South Asian organization — she makes space for others to join her. On Saturday evening, Parivar hosted a joyous and informative Diwali celebration at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Rooted in India but widely celebrated in the diaspora around the world, Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. Diwali’s significance was not lost on the audience of about 80,…

‘Press play and keep going’: writers explore art’s healing power at Oakland Asian Cultural Center

Writing saved Edward Gunawan’s life. And he hopes his story can help others. His comic “Press Play,” on view at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center until Monday, draws from his own struggles with lifelong depression. The title refers to a triangle the main character touches on his wrist “to make all the swirl and whirl come to a standstill,” as well as restart. On Saturday afternoon, Gunawan was in conversation with Bay Area poets Christine No and Michelle Lin for…

‘Culture is healing’: Native American Health Center celebrates 50 years in Bay Area

Charlene Harrison hadn’t danced at a powwow in 10 years. But on Saturday, the site director at Oakland’s Native American Health Center wore her jingle dress, stepped into the grass circle at Merritt College, and danced alongside family members underneath a burning sun.  “I’m a third-generation powwower,” said Harrison, who is Pomo, Paiute and Navajo. “This is what I know. So slipping on those old bear shoes, it feels right.”   Thousands of people came out to celebrate NAHC’s 50th birthday…

For some Laney College students, Biden’s debt forgiveness plan brings a fresh start

The first thing Milan Merchant did when he heard all of his student loans would be forgiven was take his mom and younger brothers out to Olive Garden for bottomless breadsticks to celebrate. Merchant, 27, studies biology and psychology at Laney Community College in Oakland. He hopes to transition from a program specialist for special needs children to becoming a neurologist, so he can help others like himself who suffer from migraines. When the college announced free tuition this fall,…