Culture

Faced with budget cuts, the future of school libraries in Oakland is uncertain

While the teachers’ strike ended weeks ago, the Oakland Unified School District’s financial troubles are far from over. Less than 24 hours after the strike, on March 4, the school board narrowly voted to cut $22 million dollars from next year’s budget. The move was to keep the district from financial ruin, but school libraries are among the programs being affected by the cuts. We focused on the story of just one library at Frick Impact Academy in East Oakland…

To celebrate a Grammy win, Fantastic Negrito donates to Oakland teachers

After winning a Grammy for the second time, Oakland artist Xavier Dphrepaulez—better known as Fantastic Negrito—came to Oakland’s Impact Hub in early March for a celebration of local talent and to make a donation to support Oakland’s teachers, who had begun a strike a few days earlier. “Feels good, because you know, just four years ago I was playing on the streets right here on Broadway,” he told Oakland North in an interview. “Four years, two Grammys … pretty good.”…

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…

The East Bay in myths and memorials

On an ordinary Monday, we sent the reporters of Oakland North and Richmond Confidential out into our cities with a goal: Capture the spaces that are famous for their legends, their myths, their memorials to the people who made the Bay Area great and to the moments in history that still haunt us. Each reporter took a camera, notebook and pen–and one or two took their audio equipment as well. Their goal was to sit quietly in the space for…

In wake of Christchurch shooting, Oaklanders stand against Islamophobia

In the wake of the recent mass shootings in New Zealand, on Monday Oakland residents came together as one at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater for a candlelight vigil against Islamophobia. Hundreds of Oaklanders and citizens from across the Bay Area came out to mourn the 50 people who lost their life on March 15 in two different attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand: The Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre. San Francisco’s Arab Resource and Organizing Center…

HIV rates rise among Latinx men who have sex with men

When Oakland resident Eddie Velasquez was growing up, he was frequently taunted by his peers for being gay. They called him derogatory slurs and told him to be a “real man.” He was raised in a traditional Latino household, and his cultural identity made little room for homosexuality. To stop the bullying, Velasquez even dated a woman for a short period of time, but he knew he wasn’t being honest with himself, he said. Velasquez’s experience is representative of the…

Tales of Two Cities Podcast: Guilty Pleasures

Welcome back to the Tales of Two Cities podcast!  This episode is all about our guilty pleasures. This week we’ll take you to Zoonie’s Candy Shop in Oakland to relive your childhood, learn about how people who have shopped too much are managing all the stuff they have, and hang out with a group of friends trying to solve a murder mystery — and who want you to know that games aren’t just for kids. And finally, we’ll meet up…

Is lab-grown cheese more environmentally friendly than traditional cheese? Oakland biohackers want to find out

Based out of Counter Culture Labs, a community-owned lab in Oakland, Real Vegan Cheese is working on making a cheese that would have less of an environmental effect than making traditional cheese, which requires collecting milk from cows. They are using yeast and E. Coli to create the cheese proteins. In this video, scientists at UC Berkeley discuss whether or not the lab-grown cheese will be sustainable and if people will want to eat it.

Oaklanders celebrate Mardi Gras with second line parade

If there is one celebration that cannot be stopped, it’s the Mardi Gras parade in Oakland. Whether there is sunshine or it is raining cats and dogs, the good times have to roll on Fat Tuesday. Despite the gloomy weather, people from across the Bay Area came to Oakland last week to celebrate the rich cultural tradition of New Orleans, twirling their parasols and handkerchiefs, and joining the “second line” in the street as drummers and the brass band, the…