Ricky Rodas

Tales of Two Cities: Locked Up

Welcome back to the Tales of Two Cities podcast!  This episode is about being locked up. This week we’ll meet formerly incarcerated people who share their experiences behind bars and also learn about the ways they’re getting their lives back on track after their release. We’ll also look at a different kind of lock up as we hear about animals who are affected by isolation and confinement. We will follow rodent-trapping researchers in an effort to study mammals and also…

A lesson in Cape Verdean cooking, and a taste of home

Jospefina Gonçalves, 75, knows how to cook—and she does it well. On a Sunday afternoon at her daughter’s home in North Oakland, she was leading a cooking workshop on how to prepare a Cape Verdean delicacy called pastel, an empanada-like pastry with a mix of African and Portuguese flavors. “Everything Cape Verdean, I cook,” Gonçalves said confidently. “I don’t cook nothing that’s not Cape Verdean.” Six women, including Gonçalves and her daughter Nella, are all Cape Verdean Americans—Cape Verde is…

A Lunar New Year museum experience

Kids ran around relentlessly, and parents did their best to keep up. This was the scene at the Oakland Museum of California’s Lunar New Year Celebration, an annual event that drew residents from across the Bay Area. A line of traffic formed on Oak St. just for museum parking. As attendees continuously flooded through the museum entrance, the sight of walls adorned with red decorations and multi-colored lanterns welcomed them. The festivities focused on how members of the Asian diaspora…

Online music company Bandcamp opens shop in Oakland

Last Friday, online music company Bandcamp hosted the grand opening of a new record store and performance space in downtown Oakland. Local artists Sol Development, Queens D. Light, Jazz on the Sidewalk, and MJ’s Brass Boppers performed in front of a packed house. Attendees chatted away while browsing through the store’s diverse music selection. For the record store’s general manager, Sarah Sexton, this new space is all about bringing together musicians that “really showcased the diversity and range of the…

Cypress Memorial Park

Three metal ladders shoot out of the ground at Cypress Memorial Park in West Oakland. They stand as a monument to the Loma Prieta Earthquake that shook the entire Bay Area on October 17, 1989. Ladders like these were used that fateful day to rescue people trapped on the collapsed Cypress freeway. For such an unforgettable display of nature’s fury, the park is small and intimate. It’s nestled at the corner of 14th Street and Mandela Parkway, and easy to…

Local nonprofit offers support for formerly incarcerated people

Community Works is a nonprofit organization in Oakland that provides services for formerly incarcerated people. These include parenting classes and groups that help men discuss ways they can overcome “toxic” masculine behaviors. For the past year, Community Works has hosted a weekly “restorative justice circle,” also known as a “citizens’ circle,” in their office for people who have been paroled after initially being sentenced to life in prison. There are two separate groups that meet on Tuesday and Wednesday nights to…

As early returns trickle in, Oakland voters and candidates wait

In a packed home in the Grand Lake neighborhood, supporters of Mayor Libby Schaaf and her campaign’s volunteers nibbled on quesadillas and checked back and forth between CNN and the front door to see when the candidate would arrive. Everyone from Jon Sarriugarte, the artist who designed the now-famous snail car, to city hall officials like District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, waited under orange and blue streamers. Schaaf’s older sister, Chris Schaaf, even drove in from Castro Valley to…