Tag Archives: community

Macho can mean macaroni (and cheese)

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Opinion Piece

by Luckie Lovette

When I was nine, I scorched myself when flipping French fries:  bubbling grease splattered onto my face. LESSON LEARNED: never stand close to hot grease.

I used to cook with my mom, but now the tables are turned and I’m the only person who cooks in my household. My menu is growing as I take this responsibility seriously, cooking for my aunty and brothers: I’ve graduated from old standbys like Mac and cheese on to more gourmet teriyaki chicken, vegetable medleys, baked chicken and meatloaf.

It’s not what you’d expect of a high school senior, who should be focused on homecoming, senior ditch day and prom. Not many MALE students at McClymonds become master chefs; we don’t even have a barbecue club like at Berkeley High and at Bishop O’Dowd. Only 16 percent of high school males know how to cook.

 

The first time I cooked something was when I was 6 years and dreamed of IHop, so what did I make:  big golden fluffy pancake. Not messy, sticky or runny. Unlike other kids, I succeeded the first time around. My future was sealed.

 

I began paying close attention to what my grandmother would whip up: soul foul,  fried chicken, greens, potato salad, hot water cornbread, roast beef, fried fish, and macaroni salad. Grandma Gina inspired me to take risks, get dirty. She would chop celery, onion and bell peppers and throw them into the meat, with me by her side, staring.

 

What I like most about cooking is company, community. Sitting down at the table, I share (jokes, ideas, and stories) and food with my family and chew over the day. The meal is what binds us together:  even the cats get involved, nibbling on leftovers.  And they are clever – they smell and hear me cutting onions and gather around, because they know that meat is coming next.

 

I’m not very talented in working with my hands so this gives me an outlet for that, because I don’t stress when cooking, my main focus is to listen to the sizzle, to inhale the garlic.

 

I love good food but that’s not why I cook. Cooking is my artistic expression. Even though I cook for the entire time I’m at home, I feel recharged at the end.

 

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.

Gang Violence Rages Through the East, Affects Mack

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OPINION

by Jacob Miles

Somehow, violence in the East always spills over into West Oakland.

March was an awful month. In East Oakland, another life was claimed over so little: a dispute over the theft of $200 worth of marijuana  prompted two shootings at an East Oakland house Sunday morning that left one man dead, another wounded and a lengthy standoff with police before the suspected gunman was arrested.

In the following days, two teenagers, whose names were not released by Oakland Police, were  shot on separate occasions : one teen, near Fremont High, running to football practice, was shot randomly. The other victim was a 13-year old boy who was on his way to school, also shot by accident.

The violence wears us down. “I feel sad because I have a friend and when he was 13-years old he was shot and it still traumatized him to this day. Also it is scandalous how some one could shoot an innocent 13-year old boy,” said  Janaya Andrews, a freshman.

East Oakland lives up to its acquired nickname: “little Iraq.” Residents caught in the cross fire lose their lives to gang wars.  Mayor Jean Quan promises that the violence will start to decrease in Oakland but the death toll keeps mounting.

That violence touches us all. “I feel safe, sometimes, but when going from West Oakland to East Oakland I never know what is going to happen because something can pop-off at any time so I just wait to hear or see something.” Khristan Antoine, junior, explains.

 The borders between East and West, between more dangerous and less  dangerous, between “them”:and “us” seem fluid and ill-defined. “Students shouldn’t have to worry about their lives and worry about which parts of Oakland they should go and which ones shouldn’t be crossed,” said Franklin Hysten, senior director of community programs for Alternatives In Action at McClymonds.

Some students are taking steps to counter the wave of violence in Oakland.

“Our action to this rise in crime in our city will start with our Chicago Peace Pledges, followed by our Peace Talk on May 15, and our Peace fest on June 8. We will release more information on those actions later,” said Kharyshi Wiginton, youth leadership coordinator of Youth Organizing & Leadership Opportunities.

West Oakland has had its share of recent shootings, but the most controversial took place downtown: an Oakland police officer shot McClymonds freshman, Frenswa Raynor, 16,  innocent, and unarmed, mistaken for a suspect in an earlier robbery at Le Cheval restaurant.

“Hopefully, we can get answers to why these murders and shootings keep occurring and what we can do to prevent them from happening to our students,” said Harold Pearson, executive director of Student  Program for   Academic and Athletic Transitioning.

Mack lures transfer students — with sports and community

Breannie Robinson Aronisha Smith, 16 College Ready

by Anastasia Walton

Most transfer to McClymonds for sports, but others yearn for community, after feeling lost in the shuffle of students on bigger campuses like O’High, Tech or Skyline.

Some even come from afar: Vallejo, Manteca, or even San Francisco.

Jenero Rodriguez, sophomore, wakes up at 7:30  am,  gathers his backpack and books and heads for the door.  If he catches the 8:10 am bus from North Oakland he might make it on time for Spanish class.

Rodriguez is starting a new school year at a new campus with new faces, 33 of them (out of 265 students). After wearing a Bulldogs uniform for one year, he proudly dons a Warriors orange and black jersey.

According to the Oakland Unified School District’s student assignment office; there were twelve 9th graders, eleven 10th graders, three 11th graders, and seven 12th graders who transferred to Mack this current school year.

Like Rodriguez, Louis White, junior, 16, switched from Tech to McClymonds and to Mack’s Silver Bowl winning football team.

“The teachers at Mack really care.  They take the time to help you and make sure you get the material, unlike the teachers at my school [Tech],” stated White.

Who are these new faces you might ask? Well it was a question I was asking myself as well. I wanted to know whether the transition was easy and how they adjusted. The main difference, students said, was the encouragement from staff to prepare for college.

Jermaine McCann, an 11th grader said “The staff really pushes you and talks about college, where at my other school, they barely even brought up college.”  “Mack is  one big family,” he added.

Students who leave McClymonds are usually looking for more AP classes and more extracurricular activities, says Rolanda McGhee, Care Manager.

Fitting in at McClymonds may be easier than integrating elsewhere. Principal Kevin Taylor  said, “Students at Mack are very friendly and open so it isn’t hard for new students to settle in. As for the staff, I don’t really think they mind helping to teach a new mind.”

Culture Keepers: New Focus, New Faces

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.

Students March for Peace After Two Tragic Deaths

by Stephen Vance

McClymonds students will help lead a march against violence Friday, after participating  with several other schools in a 71-day fast-relay.

The march comes after two more students from McClymonds died last week, one in a shooting in East Oakland and the other after an epilepsy seizure in juvenile hall.

The fasting and march were in reaction to the shootings of a toddler in West Oakland and a 3-year-old in East Oakland.

“Now that babies are getting killed,” said Mack senior Eric Gant about the shootings of Hiram Lawrence and Carlos Nava, “you really have to stop it.”

Gant fasted 24 hours  and will address Mayor Jean Quan and members of the city council and school board who attend the rally after the march. “We want to make sure they follow through and that this issue doesn’t get overlooked.”

Close to 200 youth and their supporters started the community “Peace Pledge,” to show their commitment to peace-building and addressing the violence in our communities.

The campaign was launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Life Academy in East Oakland by youth leaders in Alternatives in Action’s Be A Man (BAM) and Real Ambitious Women (RAW) groups.  Since January, students from McClymonds, United for Success Academy and Bay Area School of Enterprise in Alameda joined the campaign to draw attention to the unprecedented number of children killed in Oakland over the last few months.

Marchers will include also students from the Urban Peace Movement, Skyline High School and others.

They began a collective fast beginning at 1 p.m. today that will end at a ceremony Friday.  A “March to Build Peace,” gathers Friday at 9 a.m. in front of Life Academy in Oakland (2101 35th Avenue) and ends at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (2465 34th Avenue, Oakland) with the fast-breaking ceremony and feast that begins at 11 a.m.

The youth groups will dedicate their “Peace Pledge” to families of victims of violence and urge city leaders to partner with them to address this issue.

“It’s bad enough when students don’t make it to the age of 16,” says Gant, “but it’s tragic and intolerable when babies are killed before they even get to kindergarden.”

Mack Family (and Friends) Celebrate Opening of Youth and Family Center

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photos by macksmack staff

by macksmack staff

It was a family celebration, Mack style.

All Oakland (and West Oakland) came together Thursday to celebrate the opening of the McClymonds Youth and Family Center, with its health center, computer lab, dance studio, multi-media lab and gathering areas.

(((more to come from student reporters)))