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New exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California celebrates untold queer history

“The future is queer, because the present is not enough” —  that’s the opening line on the description for the Oakland Museum of California’s new exhibit called “Queer California: Untold Stories.” The exhibit is a celebration of the queer people, art, and events that have been otherwise sidelined in California history. “The show doesn’t really highlight the usual stories. We know about Pride parades, Harvey Milk, discrimination, the pride flag,” said Lisa Silberstein, the exhibit’s experience developer. “This goes beyond…

New measure extends the working hours of Oakland’s Public Libraries

A man sat on a bench in the Oakland Main Library branch on a recent overcast Monday and asked for the time. It was 5:34 p.m. “What time do they close?” he asked. The branch used to close at 5:30 p.m on Mondays—but as of April 1, it closes at 8 p.m. The man settled into the bench and said he might stick around longer. For the first time in 15 years, Oakland Public Library staffers have extended their hours…

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…

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.”…

At Oakland school board meeting, debate over school closures and charter schools intensifies

Tensions from the recent Oakland teachers’ strike were still reverberating among attendees during a special meeting for the Board of Education on Wednesday night. Hundreds of people filled the auditorium at La Escuelita Education Complex, holding small green signs that set the theme for the night. One side of the signs read “No new charters.” On the other: “No school closures.” Many in the crowd wore the black and green of the Oakland Education Association (OEA)—the teachers’ union—or red, the…

During the teachers strike, “solidarity sites” provided safe places for students

When the Oakland teachers’ strike began, many volunteers joined forces to create “solidarity sites” across the city to support the teachers by giving students a safe place to stay while classes were cancelled. Bushrod Recreation Center was one of the fifteen recreation centers open for parents to drop off their kids so they wouldn’t have to cross the picket lines. Here, children got to play basketball, make crafts, and enjoy free meals provided by Bread for Ed, a food fund…

Oakland’s schools are open again, but tension remains over budget cuts, teacher contract

The Oakland teachers’ strike officially ended on Sunday evening, but the debate over their contract and district budget cuts is still not over. The vote on Sunday was far from unanimous. Members of the teachers’ union—the Oakland Education Association—gathered at the Paramount Theater for four hours of debate before voting on whether or not to approve the tentative agreement, or TA, reached by union and the Oakland Unified School District. Teachers held signs that read “Say no to the sellout…

Teachers, Oakland school district strike a tentative deal

On Friday afternoon, just as Oakland’s school board meeting was supposed to start, a union representative wearing red–the symbol of the “Red for Ed” movement that has galvanized teachers’ strikes across the nation–stepped in front of the crowd and announced that teachers and school officials had reached a tentative four-year agreement. If ratified, it will end the strike that has shut down Oakland schools for the last seven days. Among the provisions: Teachers will receive an 11 percent raise, as…

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