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S. Howard Bransford

Protesters object to charges against local journalist

Demonstrators rallied for press freedom and decried what they characterized as police brutality in downtown Oakland on Monday, as they protested felony arson charges filed against a Bay Area journalist. The journalist, who works under the name JR Valrey, faces accusations that he burned property during a January 2009 protest against the police shooting of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station.  The small group of protestors, which numbered about a dozen as downtown workers milled past the Rene C….

Alliance Recycling

The dead televisions were coming in from all over Oakland, their screens stained and shattered, the green of circuitry panels showing through their split plastic sides.  Men hunched into a cold wind blowing off the bay as they pushed their shopping carts up Peralta Street, past the tiny triangle of Fitzgerald Park to Alliance Recycling. On a normal day, a T.V. could get you some money, but on Wednesday there was a little change-up—nobody on Peralta Street knew why—and Alliance…

Oakland Black Cowboy Association revives forgotten memories of the American West

Oakland resident Wilbert McAlister grew up watching Westerns at the movie theater in his rural hometown of Madera, Calif.  For years he reveled in the exploits of white heroes, but as an adult he began to ask himself why none of the actors resembled him or his ancestors, who were ranchers in Oklahoma.  As he explained to Oakland North, this question of identity led him to become president of the Oakland Black Cowboy Association, which keeps East Bay residents connected…

A moment of hope and trouble for local marijuana advocates

Even as states decriminalize marijuana use through programs for medical purposes, continued arrests for marijuana cultivation, possession and distribution are seen by legalization advocates in Oakland and beyond as both an obstacle and a sign of hope in the drive to legalize marijuana.

Where student was killed, hope and song fill the street

In early September, a small memorial formed at the intersection of 54th and Gaskill Streets in North Oakland, marking the site where bullets cut short the life of Desiree Davis. On Saturday, that subtle shrine turned into a soaring tribute to the 17-year-old’s life at a street fair held by members of Humanity Baptist Church.  Voices lifted from a stage just across the street, filling the air with songs of hope, and speakers made impassioned calls for an end to street…

Street fair planned for community healing: Event inspired by shooting death of Desiree Davis

Flowers and photographs mark the corner of 54th and Gaskill Streets in Northwest Oakland, a reminder of a Labor Day shooting that claimed the life of Desiree Davis, an ambitious high school senior. Yet at a street fair planned for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, members of a neighborhood church plan to transform that same place of loss into a site of community healing. Minister Lorenzo Franklin of Humanity Baptist Church said health screenings, basketball and children’s crafts…

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