Celeste Hamilton Dennis

‘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,…