It’s the little things Joseph Riley remembers, like his mother’s homemade rocky road candy, when another holiday season takes the stage. The candy remains a distant taste of childhood, Riley’s more recent holiday memories are composed of long lines out a shelter door, paper plates filled with turkey and trimmings, and finally Riley returning home, wherever home is that year, alone.
A Richmond man was shot to death Tuesday in front of a cross outside East Oakland’s Allen Temple Baptist Church, the same day church officials announced that Allen Temple had been awarded two-year grant to combat violence in the city.
As Oakland awaits this Friday’s sentencing of Johannes Mehserle, civic leaders and residents alike are working together to keep the city’s reaction peaceful. The former BART police officer was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter in the January, 2009, shooting death of Oscar Grant. In the wake of Grant’s death, as well as of Mehserle’s conviction this summer, protests in downtown Oakland turned violent.
Five weeks after their release from a Zimbabwean jail, the four members of Allen Temple Baptist church’s AIDS ministry team are already planning their next visit to the Southern African nation.
On Sunday, hundreds of Oaklanders stepped out into the rain to pay homage to those who’ve passed on. The 14th annual Fruitvale Dia de Los Muertos Festival, put on by Oakland’s Unity Council, was a stunning study in eye-popping color as visitors perused altars set up in booths along E. 12th Street dedicated to the deceased, ate hot churros and watched traditional dances backed by a thunderous chorus of drums. Dia de Los Muertos, which means Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday with roots in an Aztec celebration of the goddess Mictecacihuatl, queen of the underworld. The festivities take place on November 2, the day after the Catholic celebration of All Souls Day.
“We are here to demand that you go back to the negotiating table. We need the officers, but we don’t have the money,” Bishop Frank Pinkard of Mosswood’s Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church said to the committee, while standing with representatives from four other faith-based organizations including the Men of Valor Academy and the Allen Temple Baptist Church.
The Oracle Arena was filled with powerful music Saturday evening, as Bay Area church choirs competed before an enthusiastic crowd of 10,000 in the annual “How Sweet the Sound” gospel choir competition.
Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national support group for victims of sexual abuse by religious authority figures, came together Tuesday outside the Cathedral of Christ the Light in support of a newly filed sexual battery and negligence lawsuit against Father Stephen Kiesle and the Diocese of Oakland.
For those who can’t decide between a Sunday morning bike ride and dutifully going to church, Manifesto Bicycles has been helping Oakland cyclists have it both ways. Since 2008, the locally owned bike shop on 40th Street has been hosting “Bike Church,” an irregular Sunday morning gathering at Manifesto, where attendees can listen to music, enjoy street food and catch up with one another.