Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oaklanders making Oakland better

Last night was a great two-fer. First up was a mixer at Disco Volante put on by the Ella Baker Center to let people know about their Soul of the City campaign. It's to encourage people to get involved in making their community a better place, something Ella Baker herself would have related to. Featured at the event were some folks from the Mandela Foods Co-Op, who are working to make West Oakland a better place by making healthy, local food available. (Speaking of Mandela Foods, they're hosting a cool event today from 3-5pm, Meet the Farmer. It's a chance to meet one of their suppliers, Maria Catalan of Catalan Family Farms, and hear her story of becoming the first Latina in the U.S. to own a certified organic farm.)

Then it was over to SomaR for an Oakland Grown mixer. Oakland Grown celebrates and supports local businesses and artists, and is led by always vivacious Tina Tamale. You should celebrate and support Oakland businesses and artists, too. Why? More of the money spent locally stays local, and stimulates the local economy. I did my part; on the way to the events, I stopped at Walden Pond Books (the EBX Best Bookstore of the East Bay for 2010) and spent way too much, buying various books on Oakland history.

It was great to meet some new people and catch up with others that I already knew, and hear about what's happening in Oakland. Alas, some of the discussion at both events (and a lot online) was about the senseless shooting near Jack London Square. It's not that Oakland hasn't had shootings before, but the randomness and viciousness of this attack made it shocking. Read more about one of the victims on Living in the O.

Not all the conversation was about the shooting, though. There was tons of energy and enthusiasm for Oakland. We talked about the great impact of the Oakland Running Festival, and the plans for next year's.

And I got to congratulate Becks for a well-deserved honor. She and other local bloggers are being given an award today by the League of Women Voters, recognizing their impact on helping increase civic engagement. Congrats to:
Read more in a recent LWV newsletter. Extra shoutout to dto510, who recently joined the Walk Oakland Bike Oakland board.

New folks I met included Paula Wirth, who was one of the photographers behind the Oakland Lost+Found photography show. Given our love of signs and photography, we had lots to talk about.

I apparently just missed meeting Susan Mernit of Oakland Local. Speaking of Oakland Local, check out the coverage by Amy Gahran about the CORE disaster training going on this weekend around Oakland. Do you have emergency supplies and a plan for the next big quake or whatever? (I'm looking at you, @das88)

Finally, not specifically about Oakland (but affecting Oakland), I met a rep of CodePINK, women for peace. They'll be marching from San Francisco to Sacramento May 1st-8th, to protest war spending and the lack of corporate responsibility. Wouldn't some of the billions being spent on pointless wars be better spent, say on schools, green energy, and a host of other things?

Oakland Local coverage of the Oakland Grown event, featuring photos by Paula Wirth.


ArtSparker said...

Have I asked you before if you know Karen Hester, AKA the mayor of Temescal? She is good people.

Unknown said...

You have, I don't :-) At least not yet, but I figure I'll run into her at some Oakland event sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out. It was great hanging out with you on Tuesday night! And I agree, you need to meet Karen Hester.

Sussu said...

Fantastic! So exciting to read about this.