Category Archives: leadership

Mack alumna tackles foster care in film in Project Youthview

That Family Thing

 

by Danenicole Williams

The subject is personal, the perspective is introspective and the filmmakers are a 13-year-old from Bayview and McClymonds alum, Bonita Tindle, now a film student at San Francisco State.

The poignant video, “That Family Thing”  which explores Bonita Tindle’s experiences from foster care to rediscovering her own family, was selected as one of twelve finalists in a Project YouthView, a Bay Area competition that creates a venue for youth to tell their stories.

“The film  breaks stereotypes,” says BAYCAT program manager Zara Ahmed, who mentored Miguel Rivera and Tindle. “Bonita’s personality – of a fun, intelligent, thoughtful young woman – erases any negative stigma about foster care.”

One of the more poignant moments comes as Tindle describes reading Harry Potter and waiting for the letter from Hogwart’s to arrive.

This is not Tindle’s first video. Three years ago, she made the finals with her fanciful video, “Dancing Robots, which followed a man’s  dreary robotic routine at work. All that changes when the man meets another man who plays music in the elevator and then exits on a floor where everyone is happy.

The video will be shown May 2 as part of Alternatives in Action’s 10th annual, a one-of-a-kind youth film festival now held at the Paramount Theater in downtown Oakland.

In a mock interview while still at McClymonds, Tindle said her biggest challenge as a filmmaker was “carrying around 120 pounds of equipment on BART, boom lights, tripods and cameras”

The 12 selected youth-created films were chosen through a competitive process by industry and community judges from over 45 pieces submitted by youth throughout the Bay Area.

These shorts focus on topics from restorative justice (by Sunce Franicevic) to “Pressure” ( by Lily Yu) to Life is Living Festival at DeFremery Park (by  Emmanuel Pereida)

WHEN:         

Friday, May 2th, 2014 at 7 pm. Doors open at 6.

WHERE

Paramount Theater, 2025 Broadway, Oakland

Information and Tickets available at www.alternativesinaction.org

What Queen Latifah means to us

Queen Latifah

by Selena Williams

She’s big and bossy. And what we like most about her is how she knows how to relate to people — with her touch, her eyes, her music.

To all of us in West Oakland, she’s more than glitter, she’s real.

She speaks her mind. For instance, she supports gays and lesbians, and rode in a pride parade. In her hometown in New Jersey, she offers scholarships to minority students in honor of her brother who died in a motorcycle accident.

“She is like a song that never gets old, like Oprah,” said Janaya Andrews, a sophomore at McClymonds.

She’s been around a long time. Queen Latifah burst onto the scene in 1989, one of three hip-hop artists to receive an Academy Award nomination in an acting category.

From her rap origins, she evolved into an actress, jazz singer and icon of classic good taste, without ever losing her edge. “I’m not that into trends,” she says, for starters. “I do my thing.”

Unlike Wendy Williams and Oprah, she adds comedy and originality to her show.

She’s also a plus-size spokesperson for CoverGirl cosmetics, Curvation ladies underwear, Pizza Hut and Jenny Craig. She represents her own line of cosmetics for women of color with CoverGirl Queen Collection.  Latifah changed the game, becoming a role model  for Black girls in West Oakland.

For those of us who don’t look like Britney Spears or Madonna, Latifah was the artist to follow and relate to.  Black women were no longer  eye-candy in hip-hop or rap videos: they took control of the mic.  Few artists have had a bigger impact on West Oakland youth.

Now Queen Latifah returns to daytime television with a new talk show.

Co-produced by the hip Will Smith, through his production company Overbrook Entertainment, it features the  usual celebrity interviews, hot topics and pop culture tropes and top tier musical acts.

For me, Queen Latifah is an idol who shows me that you can be famous as a musician and successful as a businesswoman.

“Griots” project comes to McClymonds

mcclymondsgriots

by Jaden Nixon

The “Griots” project made a powerful impact at McClymonds.

“It gave us insight into how Oakland teens think,” said Kaya LaForte, a freshman who saw the exhibit late last month.

“The Griots of Oakland” is the name of a book and an oral history project by five young black men who collected stories of growing up Black in Oakland in interviews with 100 Black  men aged 6 to 24. ‘Griots’ is a West-African word that means storyteller.

“It should be made for the whole school and all of Oakland to see,” said Joseph Sanford, a senior. “It makes me remember about the ‘hood, and what people don’t know about living in a different community and what we do to make it out.”

The project was launched by African American Male Achievement (AAMA), which works to empower young black males, and Alameda Health Care Services Agency created a project to allow young African American males to share their personal experiences. They worked with Story for All to recruit five young men from the ages of 14 to 18 to collect stories.

The young men were taught African American and Oakland history, as well as videography, by the non-profit.

With video cameras and 30 interview questions, the young men hit the streets, interviewed teens at school and captured on video the voices and thoughts of over 100 African American males from the ages of 6 to 24.

Interview questions ranged from “What did you eat for breakfast?” to “What is it like being a young African American man in Oakland?” The answers were sometimes alarming. While nearly 79 percent of boys under 13 said that it was good to be a young black male, 83 percent of those over 13 said that it was hard.

The exhibit at McClymonds included photos, quotes and video clips from the interviews. A book was also published.

However, for some, it is just a reminder of the ordinary. “I’ve seen people get shot. When I see this, I don’t feel anything new,” said McClymonds sophomore Billy Giddens. ” I just go on to the next day.”

griotphoto3

Back to the future: the secret world of BART

BART1

Story and photo by Anthony Beron

It was a glimpse into the future of BART: its new, New Zealand-designed  40-mile an hour cable car that’ll zip riders to the Oakland Airport.

About 35 McClymonds’ STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students were treated to a behind-the scenes tour of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), along with a cameo on local TV news Tuesday.

“We learned how trains function and all the careers associated with BART,” said junior Kardel Howard.

The trip was organized by BART and Kathryn Hall, who heads the STEM program at McClymonds.

McClymonds students lobby and present bills in Sacramento with YMCA Youth and Government

Youth and Government may still be predominantly white but McClymonds and other chapters such as Crenshaw, San Francisco and East LA are hoping to make an impact

By Janaya Andrews

For 16-year-old Khristan Antoine, a senior at McClymonds, it was a taste of what it might be to change the world.

“I learned not to give up when something’s hard and to put up with some judging and prejudice,” she said.

After five days of writing bills, lobbying and debating issues in Sacramento, students from McClymonds said that their five-day experience with YMCA Youth and Government was worthwhile and challenging.

The delegation from McClymonds, led by YMCA’s Erika Walker, has grown from six students to 18 students, the most ever, including 10 sophomores and four freshmen.

The bills they wrote, lobbied for and debated included a proposal to set a minimum age for marriage at 16, to hold gun buybacks twice a year and to require all drivers — not just teens — to have six hours of training behind the wheel and  go through a period of time on a permit.

Antoine said that she joined this program because her leadership teacher Relonda McGhee said it would be a great idea if she  joined Y&G.

The only criticism that McClymonds students expressed centered on the long sessions and strict dress codes (several students bought new “business” clothes).

Despite the restrictions,  students said they bonded with others and learned how to argue and compromise. Daijahnae Labat, 14, a freshman, said that she just  wanted to  try  new  things.

“I liked the team building,” said Dazhane Labat, 15, another freshman. “We learned about how goverment works and all its practices.”

 

YOLO event: gummie bears as roofies warn of party dangers

YOLOphoto

by Nicole Funes

Mock party. Juice instead of scotch. Gummie bears surreptitiously dropped into drinks, like roofies (rohyphnol, a “date rape” drug that renders victims unconscious)

Another creative YOLO event.

About two dozen students participated in the mock party Wednesday after school, organized by Youth Organizing Leadership Opportunities (YOLO).

“The kids wanted to do a party and everything we do has to have a message so we decide to do a (mock tale) party to talk about the negative effects on drugs and alcohol at a party,” said youth organizer  Kharyshi Wiginton.

“This event was a success because many people came and they were all engaged,” she added.

Take Erin Nicholson, a senior and YOLO leader. She was sipping a cup of juice and when she set it on the table, someone slipped a gummy bear in her cup. She noticed only when she got to the bottom of her drink. “The lesson was that students don’t have to go to parties to get turned up and there are other ways to have fun,” she said.

The activity was the second in a series to counter violence in West Oakland. In October, several students marched to DeFremery Park to Life is Living Festival with signs  to promote peace.

“We also planned this event to encourage people to break the cycle of drugs violence and dysfunction,” added Wiginton.

FLY takes off at McClymonds: boys to men

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.