Tag Archives: Oakland

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

Back to the future: the secret world of BART

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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 sophomore is fatally shot in front of Boys and Girls Club

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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.”

From a cold Cabrio to a warm Thanksgiving: how the Golden State Warriors saved my life

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By Luckie Lovette

I never imagined it would happen to me: family crisis, homelessness, and living in a cold 1999 white Volkswagen Cabrio for two months. But unlike  633,782 hungry and homeless Americans, I got lucky.

Through the efforts of my school’s after school program and the Golden State Warriors’ basketball team, I won a shopping spree at Lucky’s supermarket in Alameda on Tuesday.

The Golden State Warriors invited my family and me on a unique Thanksgiving shopping spree. The team’s public affairs head interviewed me, putting a huge camera in front of me and two bright lights that blinded my eyes. She asked me questions about how long I’ve been homeless on the street (two months), how does it feel to sleep in a cold car (freezing), and the days of school  I’ve missed due to my situation (10 days).

The interview took place at the Warriors’ practice facility, among posters of basketball players. That’s when I received an invitation from the Warriors to take my family shopping for food.

Two weeks later, I walked into the supermarket, where my last name was on a banner on a Lucky’s shopping cart, which was breath taking.

Former NBA player Lindsey Hunter and Warriors’ cheerleaders guided me through the store and gave my family and me special printed jerseys with our last name “Lovette.” Camera crews and photographers followed me and as well as four other families. Two special checkout registers were reserved just for us. Our items were rung up and we spent time in front of the grocery store taking pictures with NBA star Klay Thompson and traffic anchor and news reporter Sal Castenada from KTVU, which was a big jaw drop for me.

After that happened, I went to my step-mother’s house and gave her all my Thanksgiving food. Besides my grandmother, she has been a central figure in my life since I was a little kid, welcoming me to her house when I was on the streets struggling to find a home. My grandmother recently tossed me of her house and left me homeless with no food or money.

She was moving back in her house and she threw away all of my prized possessions away – my TV, my neck set with my weights, my Nike Elites, my trophies — and left me to fend for myself. I wanted to take the Thanksgiving food to her house but I felt like she didn’t deserve it because of her mean attitude.

My step mom was very excited that I went shopping for her and her kids. She had to make room in her freezer for two 20-pound turkeys, two brown sugar hams, three pies and a big bucket of ice cream. My family and I were nothing but thankful to McClymonds Youth and Family Center care manager Lovell Ruffin Jr. and former youth manager Jareem Gunter for getting me set up with the Warriors and for a great haircut.

Why the second amendment offers me no protection

2ndopinion piece

by Nicole Funes

Just a year ago, a 16-year-old African American teen from Stockton lay on the ground, shot , just a few steps from my house. It took hours for an ambulance to come — shocking even for neighbors immune to the violence in West Oakland. Would this happen in Montclair or Rockridge?

More than 21 children have been shot and killed in Oakland since 2011, all of them in the poorer neighborhoods, according to the San Jose Mercury-News.

Just last week, riding on the bus, I witnessed a 16-year-old Oakland High student get into a fight with a girl, who wouldn’t refused to move backpack from the seat. “I get mad too fast. I got anger management problems,” he yelled at the girl, who refused to budge. “I’ll shoot everyone on the bus,” he said, clicking his gun.

By the next stop, I was off the bus. As were seven other passengers. “Smart move,” an older woman told me after I exited the bus.

But this is my reality. The threat of violence haunts me. Every bus ride feels like a risky adventure, during which I’m far more alert than during my school’s fire drill.

The dangers of gun use make me question the validity of the Second Amendment. How does it protect me to have guns of all sorts readily available in Oakland?

My peers are divided on the issue of gun control. “I feel good about guns, if they’re registered,” said Tyrone Spivey, a senior at McClymonds. “If someone comes into my house, even if my gun’s unregistered, “Pop, Pop.” It’s going down.”

“It ‘s too much black on black violence,” said Travon Godfrey, a 10th grader at McClymonds.  “Too many kids are finding it easy to get guns and taking {other}teens’ lives.”

Accessible with breathtaking views: West Oakland’s pride

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photos and story by Luckie Lovette

They stroll, skate, cycle and stare.

For the first time in 76 years, the Bay Bridge is now accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists.

“I went in through the Burma Road path in West Oakland and  it took 20 minutes to walk from the entrance to the Oakland touchdown,” says McClymonds senior Aronisha Smith. ” I was tired when I made it halfway, but it was a beneficial walk that made me healthy.”

The new east span of the bridge, which had a piece collapse in the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, opened three weeks ago. Since then, thousands of people, including residents of West Oakland, have walked over, and were captivated by the breathtaking views of cranes, the old bridge and the water.

There are two lanes for bicycles and one lane for pedestrians. The views are amazing, but riders should be warned that the path is not for the unconditioned heart; the trek is entirely uphill from Oakland going to Yerba Buena Island.

“It would be a pretty long walk if you’re not biking,” said McClymonds alum Paige Seymore.

Oakland city leaders and transit officials unveiled the green-and-white sign at the entrance of the path bearing the name of late city planner and longtime bicycle advocate Alexander Zuckermann.

Zuckermann founded the East Bay Bicycle Coalition in 1972 and lobbied the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for years to bring greater bike accessibility to Oakland and other parts of the Bay Area.

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One unique feature is that the bike path hangs slightly away from the bridge, with a vent to draw away exhaust from passing cars. While you might want to make your way to Yerba Buena Island and/or Treasure Island, you will have to wait until after the bridge bike and pedestrian lane opens.

Some bicyclists are asking why the path doesn’t continue all the way to San Francisco. The Bay Area Toll Authority is looking at that very idea, with a study due out later this year.  Design chief Steve Hulsebus said the bike path’s connector can’t be completed until the infamous “S-curve” is demolished in 2015.

“We’re gonna get people halfway to Yerba Buena Island from Oakland.  The real goal is to get all the way to San Francisco from Oakland. Then it can be a transportation facility and not just a recreational bike path,” Hulsebus said.

Much of the $500-million price tag  to finish the rest of the new bike path will likely come from higher bridge tolls, putting any dreams of biking to San Francisco nearly decade away.

Is it worth the wait? Some of its new admirers think so. “It would be cool to be able to walk to Yerba Buena Island,” says McClymonds physical education teacher Jeremy Namkung, who has not yet walked the bridge. “Although, I would be more eager if it connected all the way to the city (San Francisco).”

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Bloody month of June: too much violence in Oakland

The crazed man who has yet to be found is seen standing over one of his victims as he continues to fire off shots before turning on the young man below him.

by Jacob Miles

opinion piece

No teenager can feel safe in Oakland nowadays.

Just a few days after McClymonds dropout and homicide victim Darvel McGillberry was buried, violence erupted again in Oakland. Another teen was killed: 17-year-old David Manson Jr. in front of a store in  East Oakland during the daytime.

A second shooting occurred at a sideshow frequented by high school students.

A third incident — a triple shooting– took place outside a downtown nightclub which McClymonds students have frequented.

“In front of a store, at a sideshow, in front of a nightclub, no place is safe,” said Desire Combs, a senior at McClymonds.   “I think this is ridiculous: we should be able to feel safe everywhere in  our own city,” she said.

That’s not the case in Oakland, where the violence is on the rise. In just one weekend, one person was killed, 11 wounded in seven separate shootings capped by the triple shooting outside a downtown nightclub, police  said.

That incident took place in heavily patrolled, gang-neutral, downtown area, when a gunman opened fire on a group of people outside The Shadow nightclub at 13th and Webster. Two women and a security guard suffered non-life threatening wounds and the gunman remained at large, police said.

Lee Benson, a junior at McClymonds, said that he’s been to The Shadow a few times and always had a premonition that something bad might happen in that area. “A lot of the wrong people end up there,” he added.

This week, teens left flowers, candles and  you’ll-be-missed cards at the 9100 block on International Boulevard, where David Manson Jr. was killed about 1:45 p.m. Sunday. He was Oakland’s 43rd homicide victim this year.

Students at McClymonds who live in East Oakland knew Manson, who attended Oakland High School in June 2011.

“David was cool and it’s real sad how they shot him like that in daylight; he didn’t do nothing to nobody,” said Monte Smith, a junior.

What has been the police response? A vow to crack down on sideshows. What about community outreach, more activities for youths, such as new libraries and also community recreational places to hang out at.

Unless politicians and police develop a real plan, this is the start of a very bloody summer.

Sustainable Future for Oakland: Students Care

readytomeet

by Anthony Beron

Oakland High senior Kasey Saeturn relies on the bus for the long trek to school every day. It’s already overcrowded and unreliable.

Her nightmare could end: an alternative plan known as Scenario 5 could make Oakland more “sustainable” while investing more money in buses to restore service to levels that existed in the past, she told  at an environmental impact report hearing on April 16.

“Buses are overcrowded,” she said.  She also supports “eco-friendly buses.”

Saeturn was one of several students to testify at the hearing about the Environmental Impact Report, which analyzed several alternatives to Plan Bay Area.

In their testimony, students supported Alternative 5, touted as “the environmentally superior alternative,”  which would decrease greenhouse gases and particulate pollution that triggers asthma. It would also budget more money for affordable housing and buses.

The other students were graduates of McClymonds, Street Academy and Bentley high school, who are now attending college. The Rose Foundation’s summer program “New Voices Are Rising” had stirred interest in the plan.

Woody Little, a student at UC Berkeley who grew up in Rockridge, urged that any plan avoid displacing people from their current neighborhoods and create more affordable housing.

Plan Bay Area is a long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan for the entire San Francisco Bay Area. It includes the Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan (updated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission), and the Association of Bay Area Governments’ demographic and economic forecast.

This is the first time legislation is asking MTC and ABAG to adopt a Sustainable Communities Strategy, which will coordinate land use and transportation in the regional transportation plan. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light-duty trucks in the nine-county region.  If the plan succeeds in getting people out of their cars, there would be more people riding buses and BART.

Pamela Tapia, a McClymonds graduate, told the story of her family’s displacement: that her mother now has to travel four hours to work and spends $60 a day. “The EIR fails to factor in the impact of gentrification on housing costs in neighborhoods that historically have been home to low-income residents.” Another McClymonds graduate, Devilla Ervin, talked about his foster mother having to move to Sacramento to find affordable housing.

Brenda Barron, who graduated from Street Academy and now attends San Francisco State, testified about changes in transportation: there are no buses near her home after 10 pm. She said that public transit  should be more affordable and frequent  and matters to younger people.

Another public hearing is scheduled in Fremont on May 1 at 6 pm at the Mirage Ballroom.

First Friday fatality: will it discourage Mack students?

Arrested

 

photo copyright by Oakland North

by Anthony Beron

As Mack freshman  Desiree Gamble  embarked on an exciting stroll and party night at First Friday, trotting off the AC Transit bus near Telegraph, it seemed to be a normal, festive night. The music was loud and the street vendors, out en masse, were selling a variety of hats, T-shirts and CDs.

But within minutes, the seemingly smooth and charismatic night went haywire. A confrontation on Telegraph and 20th led to the fatal shooting of Oakland high school student Kiante Campbell, 18. Three people were left wounded and many, including students at McClymonds, were emotionally distraught.

“After I had got off the bus, I heard the sound of gun shots coming from Art Murmur; then I went home right afterwards,” Gamble said. Others ran, too.

As a result of the shooting and bad publicity for the event and for Oakland, the city is planning to reign in the festivities  on March 1, the next First Friday. Neon green shirts with “Respect My City”  will be sold and given away to teens who sign a peace pledge, in an anti-violence campaign.

Will McClymonds students flock to First Friday after the violence? “I’m definitely going again,” said sophomore William Gray, who was at 17th and Broadway leaving Youth Radio before the shooting.

“We go to talk to girls,” he said, describing the scene as friendly, where East Oakland teens can meet West Oakland teens in what is usually a ‘neutral’ environment.

“Downtown is usually a neutral area because nobody owns it,” he said, “except the Oakland police.”

On March 1, the focus will be on art and healing, with a moment of silence in memory of Campbell. Fewer city blocks will be closed to traffic and there will be more security and no public drinking allowed, Sean Maher, mayor Jean Quan’s communications manager told reporters after a meeting. “It’s going to be a smaller and more low key event.” The event usually attracts about 10,000 to 15,000 people and has been a boon to Oakland’s economy.

The idea of adding police for an event like First Friday has angered some community leaders, who criticized the idea of taking police away from neighborhoods, where people also need protection and security. 

A memorial service was held for Campbell on Febuary 7.  Donald Parks, 19, was charged with six counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and one count each of carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm.

Why We Should Care about Alan Blueford

Copyright Photograph by Sarah Rice, Special To The Chronicle / SF

by Tamesha Figures

When an 18-year-old honor student is shot by Oakland police, we should care. And students and teachers at McClymonds identify with Alan Blueford because he was Black, bright, and died tragically like Trayvon Martin.

He was shot  May 6,  at 92nd Avenue and Birch Street in East Oakland after fleeing a stop by two Oakland police officers, just weeks before his graduation. There are still questions about the circumstances surrounding the shooting,  Blueford family attorney John Burris told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sana Saeed, 14, and a senior said Blueford’s case was “another Trayvon Martin.”  According to Saeed, the fatal incident will produce more anger and distrust towards the police from the community, afraid that “they might shoot one of their loved ones.” There seems to be a rise in abusive power, she added.

Mau’Rae Williams, 15, a sophomore agrees.  “There is no trust in the police.  It’s even more a reason not to trust them,” Williams said.  “Riots would be started because people are being denied their first amendment right to protest.”

Williams was referring to the recent decision by the Oakland City Council to limit the number of  people attending council meetings, aimed at  stifling community protest about Blueford’s case. On Tuesday 100 people were locked out, according to the Chronicle. Police officers barred the doors as protesters inside and outside the meeting room erupted.