Health

Oakland is losing more trees than it is planting, leaving some neighborhoods more exposed to pollution

On his birthday in 2020, Walter Hood planted six trees in front of his house. That same year, he tore out the concrete parking strip and planted a dozen more. Now children come by to pick his lemons. It’s not much, he says, but it’s an investment in Oakland’s future.  Hood, a UC Berkeley professor and the creative director of Hood Design Studio, has lived for 25 years in West Oakland, where tree canopy coverage is a mere 5% —…

‘Press play and keep going’: writers explore art’s healing power at Oakland Asian Cultural Center

Writing saved Edward Gunawan’s life. And he hopes his story can help others. His comic “Press Play,” on view at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center until Monday, draws from his own struggles with lifelong depression. The title refers to a triangle the main character touches on his wrist “to make all the swirl and whirl come to a standstill,” as well as restart. On Saturday afternoon, Gunawan was in conversation with Bay Area poets Christine No and Michelle Lin for…

Living in a ‘Disneyland of disasters,’ Oaklanders show up at Chabot to prepare for emergencies

For many, getting prepared for emergencies is a daunting task, leading them to procrastinate from taking simple preemptive steps to manage critical situations for themselves, their families, and their communities. About 500 people set those fears aside last Saturday to participate in an Emergency Preparedness Day at Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, where they had fun while learning practical steps to take in planning for emergencies.  The event normally is held every other year, and last week’s was the first…

Oakland offering grants for programs that help in wake of violence: ‘Healing growth happens best when community leads the way.’

When Oakland resident LeJon Loggins lost his cousin to gun violence in 2006, he designed the obituary as he would a piece of artwork. It was an eight-page, double-sided pamphlet full of colors, images, quotes, and memories. “Kind of like a school yearbook,” Loggins said.  “I wanted people in the community to know that his life was more than a number discussed on the news. When you look at the obituary and start smiling and remembering, you start the healing…

UPDATE: Tentative agreement reached in week 10 of Kaiser Permanente workers’ strike

The union representing Kaiser Permanente mental health workers said Tuesday afternoon that the sides have tentatively agreed to a four-year contract, ending the 10-week strike. The National Union of Healthcare Workers said in a news release that the agreement will benefit patients and improve access to mental health care, “while at the same time recognizing and better supporting mental health therapists in their important work.”  Nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente therapists represented by NUHW will vote on the contract over the…

Bridging the vaccination gap: only 43% of eligible Alameda County Black residents are boosted against COVID

On a sunny Monday morning this fall, dozens of Oakland residents lined up outside East Oakland’s Roots Community Health Center, waiting patiently to get tested, treated, or vaccinated against COVID-19, for free. About 10 medical volunteers worked in five outdoor tents set up outside the single-story nonprofit medical center, providing one shot in the arm at a time.  It is all part of Roots’ community health outreach strategy to address worryingly low COVID-19 vaccination rates in Oakland’s underserved Black communities….

Rallying in Oakland to add abortion rights to the state constitution: ‘We absolutely need to send a message to the rest of the country.’

Protesters gathered under a warm sun in Frank Ogawa Plaza by Oakland City Hall Saturday for a pre-election rally in favor of Proposition 1, which would make abortion a right under California’s Constitution.  Carrying signs that read “Supreme Illegitimacy” and “Politicians Make Lousy Doctors,” about 100 people came to hear speakers from Planned Parenthood, the medical community and  other abortion rights activists. Pre-made posters were scattered about the plaza, including one of a Supreme Court justice with red hangers at…

‘This event recognizes us’: Seniors flock to Oakland festival promoting health and wellness

The 19th Annual Healthy Living Festival, Alameda County’s largest event for seniors, returned to the Oakland Zoo Thursday for its first in-person event in two years. Hosted by United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County, the free festival featured 80 vendors and promoted health and wellness among adults over age 55.  Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who was one of the festival’s founders, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult and dangerous for seniors. “This event allows them…

‘Culture is healing’: Native American Health Center celebrates 50 years in Bay Area

Charlene Harrison hadn’t danced at a powwow in 10 years. But on Saturday, the site director at Oakland’s Native American Health Center wore her jingle dress, stepped into the grass circle at Merritt College, and danced alongside family members underneath a burning sun.  “I’m a third-generation powwower,” said Harrison, who is Pomo, Paiute and Navajo. “This is what I know. So slipping on those old bear shoes, it feels right.”   Thousands of people came out to celebrate NAHC’s 50th birthday…