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Saemmool Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee discusses tech economy in Oakland

On Monday afternoon, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California’s 13thDistrict, which includes Oakland, stood in front of a stage at the Barbara Lee Science and Allied Health Center at Merritt College in Oakland. She was speaking at a media briefing with three other members of Congress who belong to the Congressional Black Caucus(CBC) Diversity Task Force, which she co-chairs. “We here not only to discuss the lack of equity and inclusion, but also the broader impact that the tech sector…

Cal Day welcomes students from 35 Oakland elementary schools

Josiah Walton, a 9-year-old student who attends Carl B. Munck Elementary School in Oakland, told his mom as he woke up on Sunday morning,“Mom, today is the morning. We have to go!” His mom, Misty Walton, responded: “I already know we are going!” They were excited to join UC Berkeley’s Cal Day event, a day for prospective students of all ages to come tour the campus. She said her son has been waiting for the day, saying things like, “We…

Supporters pass out candy bars to encourage an equal “Payday” for women

On Tuesday afternoon, Mary Boergers, a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)’s Oakland-Piedmont Branch, handed out candy bars to passersby at the Rockridge BART station and cried, “Equal pay for women! Would you like a candy bar?” Many people didn’t take the candy bars, shaking their heads—while some took them and said, “Thank you!” “This is just a great way to let people know, remind them that women aren’t making money as much as men,” said Boergers….

Oakland Promise launches initiative to get students from “Kindergarten to College”

On Thursday morning, about 20 kindergarteners gathered together in front of the stage at the auditorium in Bridges Academy at Melrose and cried, “I’m going to college!” Anita Iverson-Comelo, the principal of the school, introduced the kids to the audience saying, “This is the class of 2033,” suggesting that the kids are going to graduate college in that year. “Please give them a big hand!” the principal added as the audience applauded. The kids were participating in the “Kindergarten to…

Oakstop in Oakland

On a Monday morning, about 10 people sat around a big table in the Oakstop office, a shared working and event space in Oakland. Most of them were looking at their laptops and wearing big headphones while typing on their keyboards. One guy was talking with someone on the phone. “Okay, I’ll email you by tomorrow,” he said. Everyone was surrounded by art pieces hung on the walls. “All of the artwork within Oakstop is done by local artists of…

Mayor Libby Schaaf tours through Chinatown

On Saturday morning, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf visited the Loong Kong Tien Yee Association, a Chinese family association based in Chinatown. “Happy new year, good to see you all!” the mayor said to the members of the association. “Welcome, welcome!” the members responded, shaking hands with her one by one. It was her first stop that day, in her plan to visit six Chinese associations to pay respect to the community, recognize their contributions to Oakland, and celebrate the Chinese…

“Neighborhood Design Session” reveals Oakland’s Chinatown residents’ safety concerns

On Tuesday evening, about 120 people gathered at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center to attend a “neighborhood design session” held by the city. The session was a public meeting to discuss challenges in Oakland’s Chinatown and to generate ideas for the city’s “Downtown Oakland Specific Plan,” which will lay out a long-term vision for the area. “There are three big ideas that we are working with as part of this plan,” said Gregory Hodge, a social change entrepreneur at Khepera…

Workshop helps prepare undocumented immigrants for possible ICE raids

On Thursday morning at the youth center at Skyline High School in Oakland, about 10 women sat around a table and practiced shouting. “I want to speak with my lawyer!” demonstrated Antonio Medrano, the chapter chair of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California’s Berkeley/North East Bay chapter. He stood in front of them and said, “Repeat it!” The women repeated the sentence with louder voices: “I want to speak with my lawyer!” They were participating in a…

Refugee advocate with criminal past changes life, helps others

Nghiep Ke Lam remembers when he learned that “violence is okay.” He was around 8 or 9 years old and was living in San Francisco, California. He still often thinks of the moment when six bullies surrounded him and told him, “You have two choices.” The first choice was to fight with one of them; the second choice was to be beaten up. Lam pointed out one kid and said, “I’m going to fight with him.” They fought until the…

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