Neighborhoods

New filtration program is step toward cleaner air for West Oakland residents

Shortly after Brian Beveridge moved to West Oakland in 1999, he noticed a greasy layer of black soot building up on his window shades and tabletops. It wasn’t hard to figure out where it came from, with diesel trucks from nearby industries driving through the neighborhood and expelling pollution into the air that residents were breathing.  Now, over two decades later, Beveridge is co-director for the nonprofit West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, where he works to provide solutions for West…

Two Star Market to host community meal: ‘Thanksgiving is kind of a day you have to give back’

Two Star Market will host its 19th annual Thanksgiving dinner for the community, a free meal that 1,000 or more people are expected to enjoy in the Dimond District on Thursday. Financed by co-owner Farouq Alawdi, the meal brings together local business owners and volunteers to serve a traditional Thanksgiving menu of smoked turkey, collard greens, and yams, along with Mexican, and Middle Eastern dishes.  “This market and being in this community is a part of us,” Alawdi said. “Thanksgiving…

Oakland looks to make Chinatown’s streets safer by redesigning them

From horses to highways, the streets of Oakland’s Chinatown have been shaped by every form of traffic since its founding in 1850. Soon it will be reshaped again. With a $500,000 Caltrans Sustainable Communities grant, Oakland’s Department of Transportation will fund a multilingual community outreach program to collect input from the neighborhood and redesign the streets of Chinatown. The public’s opinion will be solicited beginning early 2022. The project’s goal is to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety and reduce carbon…

Fruitvale community prepares for El Día de Los Muertos festival Sunday

With marigolds, banners, altars and sugar skulls, El Día de Los Muertos observations are underway in Oakland, where a festival is planned for this weekend and altars already are up in homes and gathering places. During Sunday’s downpour, in a kitchen strung with intricately patterned papel picado banners, visual artist Daniel Camacho delicately separated the marigold petals he made with orange tissue paper. It is believed that the strong scent and vibrant gold of marigolds can lead loved ones back…

Ella Baker Center celebrates milestone in bringing restorative justice

With guest speakers and live music, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights celebrated its 25th anniversary Wednesday night, highlighting its work to close prisons and bring opportunities to Black and brown communities in Oakland. “I believe that you can’t have strong communities if you don’t have strong community-centered institutions. And this is that place,” Executive Director Zach Norris said. Named after the famed Civil Rights and NAACP leader, the Ella Baker Center is dedicated to shifting government resources from…

Remembering the many killed, during National Day Against Police Brutality

Across the street from Oscar Grant III Way, a sea of candles lit up the Fruitvale BART Station on Friday evening. Families from across the Bay Area placed these candles in front of an Oscar Grant mural to mark National Day Against Police Brutality. Every Oct. 22, families and community members across the country remember and honor people who were killed by police officers. The event was started in 1996 by the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression…

Artists paint murals on boards that Chinatown shopowners put over smashed windows

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Callan Porter-Romero dragged her little red trolley to a restaurant in Chinatown. She unloaded her ladder, placed paint cans and brushes on the ground, then mixed purple and pink on her palette. Atop the spattered ladder, she drew orchids on the restaurant window. The flowers surrounded a sketched hand holding a pair of green chopsticks.  “We need more art in the community to show that people who grew up here are still here, and their…

As Black farmers dwindle, grower at Temescal market wants public to know ‘we are here.’

Every Saturday morning, Will Scott Jr. wakes at 4 a.m. and drives from Fresno to Oakland to sell his fruits and vegetables at the Freedom Farmers Market in Temescal. Among the Black small business owners at the market this day, he is the only farmer.  At 81, Scott is part of a diminishing group — one of just 429 Black farmers in California. He said he travels 175 miles each week to make a point. As president of African American…

Oakland shifting some police calls to new civilian team

Oakland is preparing to launch an 18-month pilot program that will direct some 911 calls to a team of trained civilian responders rather than to the Police Department.  Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland will be run by the Fire Department on a limited basis, beginning later this year or early next year, depending on how quickly personnel can be hired and trained.  MACRO will respond to calls regarding such things as mental health crises and public intoxication, according to…