“Now every month there is a new Rodney on Youtube
It’s just something our generation is used to
And neighbourhoods where you never see a news crew
Unless they’re gentrifying, white people don’t even cruise through
And my subconcious telling me stop it
This is an issue that you shouldn’t get involved in
Don’t even tweet, R.I.P Trayvon Martin
Don’t wanna be that white dude, million man marchin’
Fighting for our freedom that my people stole
Don’t wanna make all my white fans uncomfortable
But you don’t even have a fuckin’ song for radio
Why you out here talkin race, tryin’ to save the fuckin’ globe
Don’t get involved with the causes in mind
White privilege, white guilt, at the same damn time
So we just party like it’s nineteen ninty nine
Celebrate the ignorance while these kids keep dying”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis “A Wake”
Life has a way of changing into new opportunities constantly. And for me, it created an opportunity to finish school in the Bay Area, more specifically, Oakland. I had lived in Los Angeles for five years and loved/hated it all at the same time. It was time for a change. The stares of pure horror from people when I said that I was moving to Oakland quickly became old and irritating.
Oakland is not just a town of horrible gangs and violence. It is one of culture, families, young artists, Fairyland, and a passionate community that wants to be part in it thriving. But how would one elsewhere know that when all that is on the television is another murder in the town across from the city by the Bay?
Yes, Oakland has a severe crime epidemic that touches more people than it should, but what is not always highlighted are the multitudes of people striving to change that. Crime has roots, and it is largely one of economics as is pointed out in the article “What’s the Best Way to Make Oakland Safe” featured currently on Oakland Local‘s website. The consulting group Inner City Advisors is “building an Oakland economy that works for everybody by creating good jobs and hiring locally from targeted communities (people who are formerly incarcerated, aged-out foster youth, people learning English as a second language, and people with low education attainment levels).” And Oakland Local is even doing their part by providing training workshops with the intent to “train and empower the Oakland and East Bay, Calif.-area people to learn skills that support economic development, job and college readiness at the same time that we help them to make their voices heard. We also provide skills building and development to our interns, community contributors and reporters and we work with small business people to make them discoverable in search and teach them social media marketing. We also partner with school and youth organizations to teach these skills to youth and to help them share their views on issues.”
Things do not change on their own. And with Oakland neighborhood groups forming evening walks, formal community discussions, and beautification projects, things are changing in Oakland. The people who live here, love here. They want to make this city great; they are invested. And while it has a ways to go, Oakland is well on its way.