by J’Mya Gray-Martinez
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Chip Johnson blamed problems with youth centers (two open and a third about to open) in West Oakland on lack of staff and programs.
Journalism 1 decided to pitch in, providing insight into what should be included in local youth centers and what also needs reform.
“We should have more programs at school instead of at youth centers, because it’s easier for students to get their SAT prep, help on their homework or class work right here.” (Abbas Hassan)
“More music, dancing, singing, college. Students are bored after school. So they need something to do. If you have these programs then the kids won’t need to do drugs or harmful things like that.” (Jaden Nixon, who transferred out of McClymonds)
“I’m happy with the programs that Oakland has to offer me. I can go to the YMCA on weekends and the Boys & Girls Club on weekdays. They have sports for you to play and they’re very safe. The programs are kind of healthy but you can get good exercise. It keeps the violence away. (Parrish Kendricks)
“Healthy living programs. Not just with eating but when it comes to relationships, violence, and interactions. I want to see programs that will affect the youth like scared straight programs. Also, I want to see more people kids can trust and rely on. Lastly, I want to see more jobs like YEP or Youth Uprising.” (Kaya LaForte)
“I would like to see fun programs. Also educational programs that will help us in the long run. For example, a program that teaches you useful things like how to write a resume, fill out a college application and things like that. I would really like to see tutoring programs also.” (Hailey King)
“We need more fine Arts and Educational Programs because there are a lot of talented kids I know around Oakland that don’t get a chance to show their true talents, and then they get caught up in gangs, drugs, and violence.” (J’Mya Gray-Martinez)
In Oakland, I believe we need to provide more programs during school hours so students are forced to go. (Quaylin Wesley)
Why “Licks” was powerful: it’s based on a true story
by Janaya Andrews
It was no ordinary Friday afternoon at McClymonds, as 25 students and community members talked to the Berkeley director who filmed the award-winning “Licks.” He was with two of the actors, who both grew up in the Lower Bottoms.
The event was organized by Alternatives in Action and featured a panel on “manhood.”
“The movie shifted between humor and sadness and anger,” said freshman Dazhane Labat, who attended the event. “It had moments of redemption; like when the baby is brought to a family to save him from his drug-addicted mother.”
The movie hit home. It actually shows us teenagers how life is in Oakland and how things work out; with the realistic scenes of places you know, and dialogue that rings true, you recognize how the hood works.
The movie follows guy named “D”, as he moves back to his hometown Oakland where he was charged with robbing a store and wielding a gun.
The most compelling scenes centered on personal relationships. At home with his girlfriend, she told him,”Promise me you wont hit up no more places. His response: baby, look i’m with you now and she expresses her doubts and warns him not to bring back his stolen merchandise.”
In his oustside life, friends become more prominent, asking him, “Are you ready to go make hit this lick.” He answers, “Yea, man let’s go to their approval, “alright that’s my boy.”
Minutes later, they drove to a meat market and went in the store with a black masks on. Then they told the store clerk to get on the floor; they held his head down on the counter making sure he couldn’t get a good look at their faces.
“Licks” touched us all, because of the real hard times we face and the choices we make: the film shows, with great compassion, that thugs have problems with money and only rob because they are trying to get money for their families.
For Jonathan Singer-Vine, a 24-year-old writer and director who was born and raised in Berkeley, California, “Licks” is his first feature film. It opened in Oakland’s Parkway Theater in November and won several awards.
He said the film was aimed at 16-year-olds because they will understand how and why the movie was made and its real message.
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Posted in Commentary, community, Gangs, Lower Bottoms, opinion, School News, Trends, violence, West Oakland, Youth
Tagged film, Jonathan Singer-Vine, Licks, Lower Bottoms, manhood panel, McClymonds, youth