East Africans share community values, plates of food

Oakland has become a popular destination for the estimated 20,000 Ethiopian and Eritreans living in the Bay Area, according to the Ethiopian Community Center in Oakland. The East Africans have been steadily migrating to the Bay Area since the late 1980s and early 1990s, seeking refuge from the brutal military dictatorship of then Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam. But now, the community is flocking to the area on a more positive note. Drawn to the city for its temperate climate, reminiscent of East Africa, and its food-centric culture, many Ethiopian and Eritrians have settled in North Oakland—bringing the flavor and color of their customs and cuisine with them.