photos by Khristan Antoine
by Khristan Antoine
Extreme is the word that sums up my experience of China: extreme numbers of people, vast expanses, cluttered skylines, extreme smog.
I had never traveled outside the US, not even to Canada or Mexico. I didn’t even own a suitcase. Then I was selected as one of 13 African -American students from the East Bay to travel to the world’s mightiest country, without a clue about language, culture, or history.
On a trip organized by East Oakland Youth Development Center and China-U.S. Study Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), three McClymonds students, Umiika Rose, Brandon Vonderwerth and I experienced China in all its complexity.
We travelled with photographer Nicka Smith and EOYDC director Regina Jackson as part of a movement to bring more African American students to China.
There was more study than tourism. Every morning, we had lectures by professors and college students on culture, history, traditions, and economics. The day we landed, we checked into the hotel, took a shower, got dressed for a greeting dinner. We were welcomed with a dinner with varied foods and Peking duck. They prepared welcome signs, greeted us with smiles and an introduction; the Chinese delegates gave brief speeches and we all broke into conversation (through our translators) and ate.
Our first day set the tone and pace of our stay: we went to Beijing foreign studies to attend our first lecture (we had 8 lectures and three Mandarin classes.
The most memorable moments were when we could explore the city, as tourists. We walked through Tiananmen square and the forbidden city. I enjoyed walking up the Great Wall (I wouldn’t say it was easy at all as it was a challenge climbing the uneven stairs and walking up the steep hills).
As we toured, the reaction of people in the street was to stop, stare, and snap.
The biggest surprise for me was seeing the same deep divide between the rich and the poor in China that we know all too well in the United States.
Posted in Academic success, after school, business, campaign, College, community, Education, history, journalism, Mayor Jean Quan, Newspaper Articles, Oakland City Council, opinion, protest, School News, walls, West Oakland, writing, Youth
Tagged China, CUSEF, East Oakland Youth Development Center, McClymonds, Regina Jackson, Think China 2013, US Study Exchange Foundation, west Oakland
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 Jacob Miles
They use the word “notorious” to describe the projects near McClymonds, where many of us live.
It’s more gang-controlled than police-patrolled, but it’s home.
This week, when police targeted a gang operating out of Acorn, there was a mixture of relief and hatred. People are always mixed about Oakland police.
A massive raid, in which about 300 law enforcement officers took part, resulted in the arrest of five suspects on gun and drug charges, Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan told reporters last week.
Oakland police Lt. Tony Jones said 150 FBI agents, 120 Oakland police officers and several dozen officers from San Leandro, Hayward and Antioch served 16 narcotics and weapons warrants.
Jones said officers were hoping to arrest more suspects and seize more military-style weapons but some of the people they were looking for at the Acorn complex, which is between Seventh and 10th streets near Adeline Street, saw officers coming and were able to get away.
This is not unusual. The perps can see the police coming just like in New Jack City. From the 9th floor, you can see the police and alert your posse to fan out through the walk-throughs and passageways.
“They have more control inside the projects because they’re in a secure area as opposed to other hoods being on the corner in the open,” said Walter Nathaniel, a freshman and also a Acorn resident.
The gang was involved in many shootings and other acts of violence, both in West Oakland near its turf and across town in East Oakland.
“People in the hood don’t care about police and they still do what they want to do. It won’t stop anyone from getting their money or violence to end,” said Anton Smith, 17, an Acorn resident who goes to school in San Leandro.
“The investigations will continue and more arrests are coming,” Jones vowed.
Posted in 100 block initiative, Commentary, East Oakland, fads, Gangs, gentrification, Guns, high school newspaper, history, journalism, Justice, Newspaper Articles, opinion, Police, protest, Racism, resilience, restorative justice, rivalry, School News, shooting, Trends, violence, walls, West Oakland, Youth
Tagged Acorn, gangs, raid, violence, weapons, west Oakland
by Anthony Beron
The victory dance should have taken place HERE last Thursday. The championship game should have been in the McClymonds gym.
Yes, the McClymonds Lady Warriors made history by winning the Oakland Athletic League for the first time in 38 years. And the boys team, the Warriors won and were undefeated in the OAL.
So what is the pay-off for their hard work and higher seeding in the CIF playoffs: WE HAVE TO PLAY AT OAKLAND TECH, our rival school, instead of playing in our OWN GYM.
And the school is abuzz with that sad reality. “If I had an option,” said boys’ basketball coach Brandon Brooks, “I’d definitely have our team play here because of our strong, enthusiastic fan base.” He thought it was moved to Oakland Tech because of the smaller size of our gym.
Colleen Piper, Spanish teacher, called the move to have McClymonds play at its rival’s gym “unfair” and “uncool.”
Teacher Relonda McGhee, who favored playing at Laney College, where the Silver Bowl was played, said that “Playing at Tech is risky, because it’s our rival.”
Most students agreed. “We should play here, on our home field, because we are the champions,” said Danny Sola, a senior.
But some expressed caution. “Playing here can be dangerous,” said Luckie Lovette, a junior. “In the past, the fans have caused a lot of problems.”
While McClymonds students mentioned the unfairness of the situation, the athletes just practiced for the game.
“As long as we have a court and a hoop,” said Lady Warrior Romanalyn Inocencio, “I’m cool.”
Posted in Academic success, after school, Basketball, CIF regional championship, community, commute, cost, East Oakland, Education, high school newspaper, history, journalism, Lower Bottoms, Mack sports, Newspaper Articles, Oakland Tech, opinion, PE, Police, popularity, protest, Racism, rivalry, school decor, School News, school spirit, Silver Bowl, small schools, sports, spring, stress, success, teachers, track and field, Trends, Twitter, violence, walls, West Oakland, work, writing, Youth
Tagged basketball, California, championship, CIF, gym, high school sports, Lady Warriors, Mack, Mack family, Mack House, Mack pride, McClymonds, NBA, Oakland Tech, racism, small, Warriors, west Oakland, WNBA, youth
by Breannie Robinson
Banksy’s graffiti — two English policemen kissing, an Israeli soldier getting frisked by a little girl — showing at Art Miami-Basel this week—sells for as much as $266,000 and it’s political, provocative, and creative expression.
Graffiti, as Banksy and other artists would say, derives its MEANING from the street. Location is central. So would Oakland punish Banksy and the owner of the building on which it is displayed?
A new proposed city ordinance would punish both. It goes too far: it would impose fines on graffiti artists, on their parents if they’re minors, and also on property owners who don’t clean it up. The ordinance would basically make tagging or graffiti a misdemeanor instead of an “infraction,” which would make it possible to be jailed for displaying graffiti. You must be kidding, jailed for having your property defaced?
Even if it’s an increasing problem in Oakland, (and Nancy Nadel led the move for more punishment, so West Oakland is targeted), why does it make sense for the building owner to be punished for what another person has done? Why should he or she be forced to clean it up or worse, be fined?
I think it’s laudable for Oakland officials to try to control the aesthetics of their city but it’s ridiculous to fine building owners who have no control over the tagging on their property. It might even discourage people from buying property in Oakland.
Graffiti has always been controversial: it can be viewed as “blight” or as “art.” The style of graffiti art can be seen as scruffy, ugly illegal drawings on buildings but in certain areas, graffiti is seen as portraits of real life which enhance a neighborhood’s beauty.
For example, in New York, there are large memoirs on the side of buildings and no one has fined the owners for the art on their walls. In fact, there is a PAID tour of Williamburg, Brooklyn which centers on graffiti.
Many famous graffiti artists who exhibit their art in galleries had their start on city walls: besides Banksy, Blek le Rat (who exhibited at the Tate Modern in London), Konstantin Dimopoulos (who painted Blue Trees in Seattle), Peter Ferrari PLF and Barry McGee, among others.
I wonder if this is another case in which Oakland is overreacting, because we are in Oakland and “Gang Graffiti”(tagging to show that a block “belongs” or is “territory” for a specific gang) is seen as threatening to law and order. Whether that is the case or not, punishing the owners of the building is taking things too far.
Posted in art, campaign, cost, East Oakland, fads, fashion, Gangs, gentrification, graffiti, Oakland City Council, opinion, Racism, School News, Trends, walls, West Oakland, Youth
Tagged art, blight, clean-up, fine, gentrification, graffiti, homeowners, misdemeanor, Oakland City Council, ordinance, tagging, walls, west Oakland