Would quinoa salad (with white bread) represent white people?
by Nicole Funes
How ignorant of a Catholic girls’ school to honor Black culture by reducing us to fried chicken and watermelon on their menu?
I found it insulting that just 18 miles from West Oakland, in the diverse Bay Area, a group of suburban school girls at Carondelet in Concord decided what to do for Black History Month without looking up a single thing about Black History on the Internet. They just talked about FOOD in the cafeteria. And resorted to STEREOTYPES!!!!
And don’t they have an adviser? Are there no adults involved in menu selection, let alone education?
I think that those white people were being racist and they didn’t even know what Black History month was about. Their attitude is just too…cavalier.
For instance, if we were in their shoes and had a month to celebrate white history month (as though anyone would REDUCE white history to ONE month of the year) and we said, “Oh, to honor white people this month, we’re going to have salad, white bread, olives, and lemonade for lunch. We should put it on our lunch menu!”
And our principal wouldn’t even notice or say anything about it and, then we would go on TV and make fun of their culture like how they do, thinking we barely know their culture or what food they eat, just because it says “white” in front of “history month”, we only have to GUESS what they eat. And then we would have an assembly because peoples’ feelings got hurt, so we just had to apologize: nothing more. As though, you could just take back words that had inflicted pain.
You would justify your action by claiming ignorance: oh, we just put something to eat this day because we had an assumption that white people eat this food because we might have friends who are white and now we think we are part of the clique!
Posted in changes, Children, community, community activism, Culture Keepers, East Oakland, Education, gentrification, history, Justice, opinion, protest, Racism, school decor, School News, school spirit, stereotype, West Oakland, Youth
Tagged Black history month, black opinion, Carondelet, catholic school, Concord, fried chicken, ignorance, Quinoa, racism, stereotypes, watermelon, white bread, white people
The wall at the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Street commemorates Denzel Jones.
photo and story by Anthony Beron
McClymonds high school students were shocked by the shooting in front of the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Streets Saturday night, in which McClymonds sophomore Denzel Jones, 15, was killed along with a 35-year-old man.
“It’s a dangerous corner,” said freshman Jasmine Vilchis. “It makes me think about safety and worry about the killers, still on the loose.”
Vilchis was within earshot of the shooting, and recalls gunshots “ringing in the night, leaving everything silent.”
Spanish teacher Elsa Ochoa described him as having a lot of friends and as a student who presented a reserved resonance. “We’ve lost another youth to violence in Oakland.”
Several grief counselors were available Monday to help students sort out their emotions.
His family asked the public Sunday to help find the gunman who killed him. Police told reporters they have no suspects and no motive yet.
Jones, nicknamed “Beans,” had only attended McClymonds since winter break. He had transferred from Oakland High School and said he most enjoyed math. His sister, Sharda Macon, a psychology major at Laney College, told KTVU, “We just really need a lot of support right now. It’s hard losing a kid. He’s just a baby.”
Debate coach and journalism assistant Pamela Tapia saw him as a student full of potential and fraught with academic talent, and as someone with a strong work ethic.
“He was genuine, intelligent and mindful. It’s so horrible that he had so much talent that wasn’t harvested; he always turned in the best work and was one of the best students I’ve had.”
In front of the Boys and Girls Club, bystanders stopped to sign two enormous posters and light candles. A huge teddybear and red and white balloons — his favorite colors — also were placed nearby.
“He was hecka quiet,” said freshman Nicole Funes. “He looked smart, like he was capable of doing good work.”
Posted in 100 block initiative, Academic success, after school, anxiety, community, community activism, Culture Keepers, curfew, Gangs, gentrification, Guns, high school newspaper, journalism, Justice, Newspaper Articles, Oakland High, resilience, rivalry, School News, shooting, small schools, stress, teachers, violence, West Oakland, Youth
Tagged boys and girls club, death, Denzel Jones, high school, high school news, homicide, macksmack, McClymonds, newspaper, Oakland, shooting, sophomore, violence, west Oakland
by Janaya Andrews
A boy calls a girl a b**ch after arguing about rumors going around school. He grabs his backpack and knocks over a desk in frustration. Before the teacher can stop him and calm him down, the boy is down the hall fuming in anger, swearing at the walls.
The newest guys-only club at McClymonds — First Love Yourself or FLY — addresses such issues of disrespect toward women, confidence and responsibility in a more social atmosphere than the Manhood class for 9th graders, says Lovell Ruffin Jr. , case manager at Alternatives in Action.
The brainchild of Jareem Gunter, community programs manager, the program was launched to help male students talk about these issues, bond and develop self-respect. So far, about a dozen male students, mostly freshmen, are attending.
“I need a person I can look up to,” said Hosea Wade, a 9th grader.
The reasons for joining FLY range from a desire to bond with other guys outside of sports teams to a need for a safe place to ask questions and get information.
“Some of the guys don’t know how to tie a tie,” said Gunther. “Others need to respect girls or women.” The current trend — to disrespect women — began 10 years ago and is reflected in rap music and culture, he said.
Some of the freshmen realize that it’s time to confront sexism. “I want to be in the men group to be more mature than I am now,” said freshman Desmond Crump. “I want to be more polite towards girls, my parents and any other adults I talk to,” said freshman Quentin Garrett.
So far, the focus has been social. But the three adult leaders have written a pledge they hope to teach club members: to honor themselves, to hurt no one, to build community.
Posted in Academic success, after school, campaign, community, community activism, Culture Keepers, Education, high school newspaper, hiphop, history, journalism, leadership, rap, reading, relationships, School News, school spirit, Sexism, single sex class, stereotype, violence, writing, Youth
Tagged Alternatives in Action, community, disrespect, First Love Yourself, FLY, honor, manhood, pledge, sexism, women
Shamarray Ross, incoming freshman at McClymonds, gathers peace pledges in preparation of Saturday’s event
by Jonae Scott
I have experienced violence and force first-hand in West Oakland, a community in which my roots run deep. I’ve been shot (two years ago during a peaceful vigil for an older friend who was gunned down) and in April, my parents were arrested, and then released, during the raid of the Acorn housing project.
It was traumatic to have federal agents burst into my apartment with guns, assault rifles and flash bang grenades, handcuff my parents and brother, and throw my family’s possessions around.
Because of these experiences, I need to be involved, even to lead any activity to bring peace to West Oakland. The “Pass the Peace” event this Saturday will mark the first time I take action myself. It was time.
It’s important for youth to let their voices be heard. Take Shamarray Ross, a freshman at McClymonds. She says, “It’s time for youth to make it better. Nobody else is.”
And she’s right.
We are making peace pledges at the event at McClymonds this Saturday from 12:30pm to 4:30pm. Sponsored by the Alliance Recycling, the event is called “the Spirit of West Oakland” because we want everyone in the community to join us.
Like my peers, I was distressed to read The San Francisco Chronicle story, that noted that since 2002, the number of African-American men killed on the streets of Oakland nearly matched the number who graduated from public high schools ready to attend a state university.
So distressed that I’m taking action. I demand an end to gun violence in my community.
Posted in 100 block initiative, Academic success, after school, Alumni, anxiety, changes, Children, Commentary, community, community activism, Culture Keepers, Education, Gangs, Guns, leadership, protest, Racism, resilience, restorative justice, School News, school spirit, shooting, stress, success, Trends, violence, YOLO, Youth
Tagged Alternatives in Action, Chaz Walker, Keith Carson, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Mack. Pass the Peace, McClymonds, non-violence, Samba Funk, The Spirit of West Oakland, violence, West Oakland Alliance Foundation
McClymonds students (left to right Jacob Miles, Lee Benson and Anthony Beron) take part in National Hoodie Day in support of Trayvon Martin.
by Anthony Beron
School’s out, but McClymonds students are closely following the Trayvon Martin trial, now in jury selection.
Several students, including juniors Jacob Miles and Lee Benson, took part in a National Hoodie Day, in support of the 17-year-old Florida high school who was murdered after buying Skittles and Arizona iced tea inside a gated complex in Sanford, Florida.
“I feel that what the man (George Zimmerman) did was out of pocket and the court should give him (Trayvon Martin) justice at least,” says Jacob Miles, a junior.
Zimmerman argued that he was in imminent danger of being attacked by Martin, who was at the time unarmed and pleading for his life, according to CNN.
“I’m angry. After all, this is just another example of how Black and Latino youth are targeted because of their skin color,” said Rafael (who would not give his last name), a Hispanic male in his 20’s from East Oakland, who was the apparent organizer of the rally. Rafael added, “We need a revolution!”
“I think George Zimmerman should serve a long sentence in jail, because he killed an innocent person. It was racial profiling: he just killed Trayvon since he was an African-American male, wearing a hoodie, just walking around,” argued Kardel Howard, a sophomore.
Zimmerman claimed to have been attacked by Martin before shooting him, and later took photos of himself with a broken nose and several cuts and bruises. The slug of the fatal round Zimmerman fired at Martin was lodged in the teen’s left chest before paramedics arrived and attempted CPR on him. Martin was later pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.
Zimmerman’s defense team allegedly tried to form a jury with the least number of minorities as possible. They denied the allegating: “Absolutely not, but if there isn’t a black juror, that doesn’t mean anything either. It just means that we chose the best people based on their answers to their questions,” according to the New York Daily News.
“I feel like it’s not fair to choose people that are not minorities who can’t relate as much to Martin,” said Howard. “With more minority jurors, they can relate to racism and oppression better; it should be more balanced.”
Posted in 100 block initiative, after school, changes, Children, community, community activism, Culture Keepers, Debate, Education, ethnicity, Guns, high school newspaper, hiphop, history, hype, Jesus, journalism, Justice, Obamacare, opinion, poetry, Police, President Obama, protest, Racism, rap, reading, relationships, restorative justice, rigor, rivalry, sagging, School News, shooting, small schools, speakers, sports, stress, Technology, Texting, Twitter, violence, voting, walls, West Oakland, work, writing, YOLO, Youth
Tagged CNN Justice, court, CPR, death, exposing the system, Florida, gated complex, George Zimmerman, jury, McClymond opinion, minorities, National Hoodie Day, nude people, racism, Sanford, shooting, Trayvon Martin
by Khristan Antoine
West Oakland, watch out. With an eye toward gentrification and changes, local youths may be asking questions, lots of questions. They will be the new participants in Culture Keepers, a program based at McClymonds High School.
In its third year there, Culture Keepers will expand, targeting more kids and focusing more on cultural identity than on tutoring. And participants will be encouraged to be curious, too. They will look at changes between West Oakland of the 1940’s and the newly gentrified neighborhood.
“I see Culture Keepers being a fundamental component to shifting how people in West Oakland. particularly youth, feel about themselves,” said Kharyshi Wiginton, director of Culture Keepers.
Culture Keepers is a tier mentoring program that allows high school and middle school youth to mentor elementary kids in West Oakland, instilling a sense of identity, cultural awareness and pride.
The program is shifting its primary focus from academic support to character development and community engagement. Instead of researching their family tree, students will study changes in West Oakland.
“There is the tradition of keeping the culture,” Wiginton said. The program began this month with three returning students and plans to recruit 40 more. They will mentor younger students at West Oakland Middle, Hoover, Westlake and Lafayette schools.
Culture Keepers’ primary project this year will be to create a living time capsule. Students will look into the history of West Oakland from the 1940’s and compare it to the modern census. They will collect data and analyze it.
“Due to gentrification, we want to know what the population looks like now and how jobs have changed,” said Wiginton.
So far this year, Culture Keepers has no funding and will seek a grant from the Alameda County Health Department, she added.
This week, Mack students were involved in discussions about what parts of the program worked in the past and what didn’t work.
“History is like a compass. It tells us where we have been so we can know where we are going. Hopefully, Culture Keepers will help us return to a legacy and tradition of greatness, “said Wiginton.
Posted in Academic success, after school, changes, Children, community, community activism, cost, Culture Keepers, Education, ethnicity, gentrification, history, Immigration, jobs, leadership, Racism, School News, West Oakland, work, Youth
Tagged changes, community, Culture Keepers, engagement, gentrification, McClymonds, west Oakland