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A year after Prop 8: the state of gay marriage law

A year ago today, California voters approved Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that bars same-sex marriages in the state. Maine voters yesterday approved a similar ban, leaving five states–Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire–in which gay couples may legally wed. This interactive map (scroll over to get more information on each state), designed and reported by Oakland North’s Shannon Service and Tasneem Raja, shows the current state-by-state array of marriage and civil union law around the United States.

Oakland dance troupe channels Haitian rhythms

At the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in downtown Oakland, Portsha Jefferson and the Rara Tou Limen Haitian Folkloric Ensemble use dance and performance to educate the Bay Area about Haitian culture. The ensemble is organizing a fundraiser this Wednesday, October 21, at San Francisco’s Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

New refugees from rural Burma, grappling with modern California, find an ally in Oakland

In the last three weeks, seven new families have finally won the right to move to Oakland. The most recent family arrived October 7, and like the others, was picked up at San Francisco International Airport after a 16-hour flight, taken to a sparsely furnished apartment on 19th street in East Oakland, and given a week’s expense money. With this final trip up I-80 and across the Bay Bridge, a journey that began in the depths of the jungles of…

Choir competes for gospel gold

Eight choirs. One night. Fifteen thousand fans. Watch the singers of Oakland’s Genesis Worship Center as they take the stage in the “Best Choir in America” competition.

Where student was killed, hope and song fill the street

In early September, a small memorial formed at the intersection of 54th and Gaskill Streets in North Oakland, marking the site where bullets cut short the life of Desiree Davis. On Saturday, that subtle shrine turned into a soaring tribute to the 17-year-old’s life at a street fair held by members of Humanity Baptist Church.  Voices lifted from a stage just across the street, filling the air with songs of hope, and speakers made impassioned calls for an end to street…

Migrants invited to church pulpits for Labor Day

Romana was seven months pregnant, she told the congregation at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church on Sunday, when she walked for six hours from Mexico to the United States -– mostly without water, sometimes without shoes. She crossed through brush where sticks ripped at her skin, she said. Her brother and grandmother dragged her when she felt too tired to walk.  When Romana and her family arrived at a tunnel where they thought they could rest, she said, US immigration workers…

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