Pastors of Oakland and many more are joining forces to fight against the long trend of violence. They have been meeting and doing more than praying. They are actually putting faith to work.
After my mother migrated from the Philippines with my father in 1983, she became employed as a domestic worker. She has worked in private households and in caregiving facilities. Since I was 5 years old, my mother has been the breadwinner and backbone of my family. With her low wages she’s provided the basic necessities for our family while continually sending money to our relatives in the Philippines.
It’s never been easier to eat with a conscience. The Oakland Unified School District is participating in Meatless Monday; local restaurants like Italian Colors, Mezze and Boca Nova offer Meatless Monday menus; and we have an abundance of restaurants that offer meat-free fare daily.
If you read the Measure A1 Expenditure Plan, you will see that, by law, the money must be used for animal care, children’s educational programs and maintaining the zoo’s affordability. It does specify that money would go towards upgrading animal enclosures and repairing animal shelters – but this “construction” is a far cry from using the funds to expand the zoo.
I enjoy the zoo, and I truly appreciate how the East Bay Zoological Society transformed it into a special East Bay destination. But their agenda for the zoo conflicts with the preservation of open space and native habitats, and over the years they’ve worked very hard to blur the distinction between the Zoo and Knowland Park and to secure political allies that will back their proposals.
In 1979 my sister and her family moved into their home with the same expectations of so many others of that time. That expectation included raising their children in a safe and clean neighborhood where they would be educated in the local neighborhood schools. Their jobs would be secure and their dollars would stay within the community because they made a point, even then, to shop at local stores. They were intent on paying off their mortgage in 30 years.
At the Food Bank, we haven’t seen signs of an economic recovery. FY 2012 marked the first time we responded to more than 40,000 calls from people whose pantries were empty. People are lining up for food for three hours before their neighborhood pantry opens, rain or shine. More than 300 callers each month reach out to our Emergency Food Helpline for the very first time.
I got a lot of love for my last op-ed, The Oakland Diss (thank you for your kind words). But I also received a lot of flak. I was called “delusional” and “naive.” I got emails asking me if I had ever even seen “the real Oakland.” My thoughts were even dismissed by SFist with an “uh-huh, sure” pat on the head.
It’s like we are the Boo Radley of the neighborhood, and nobody even dares to knock on our door because some guy one time told a friend that people in Oakland hate puppies and practice dark magic.