Ok, Oaklanders… I asked last week what dreams you had for our city and only one person responded. And he kinda has to because we share a bed!
I have to say I was a bit disappointed. But hey, I’ve been busy too, so I understand that most folks are swamped once January rolls around… putting away the holiday decor, returning those god-awful sweaters your aunt bought you, digging through the backlog at work, and working off those chocolate-candy-booze-infused extra pounds.
But in all seriousness, the questions I posed in my last post were not rhetorical. I really want to know. And in a certain sense, I believe it’s really important to form, verbalize, and actually announce to the world, our dreams/hopes/visions for the future. Because a dream undeclared will likely remain just that… a dream. But one voiced aloud, for one’s self and others to hear, ponder on, and process… is far more likely to be manifest into reality.
This is why Martin Luther King, Jr. announced his “dream” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of hundreds of thousands (and millions more via television)… to effect real change. Nearly five decades later, with enormous progress made, we still find inspiration in his words.
So tell me… what’s your vision for our city? What would you like to see change? And how will you help achieve that reality?
As a kickstart to this little exercise, I thought I’d mention that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is this Monday, January 17th. In addition to recognizing and honoring the incredible achievements of the civil rights leader, the day has also been set aside as a National Day of Service.
What is the MLK Day of Service?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.
The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. (from MLKDay.gov)
There are lots of ways that each of us, individually, can contribute to make Oakland a better place for all of us, collectively, to live. OaklandSeen has a nice recap of some local service opportunities in their recent post Give Back / Pay Forward by Anna Edmondson.
- One that I’m particularly inspired by is the Habitat Restoration project at Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline. Apropos, right?! Volunteers will help continue the beautification and restoration of this tidal marsh & shoreline habitat by planting native shrubs, weeding invasives, and removing debris. Workday is Saturday, January 15th from 10am – 1pm. (map here)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline
I paid a recent visit to this park, my first time, and was really surprised. I hadn’t even known of its existence as it’s located in a semi-industrial area near the Oakland Airport. Similar to Cesar Chavez State Park near the Berkeley marina, the area was previously an old landfill (aka dump!), but since has been restored to its natural environment, comprising over 71 acres of tidal and seasonal wetlands. Native plants have recolonized and many species of migrating and non-migrating birds have reestablished themselves.
Part of the larger 500 mile long San Francisco Bay Trail, there are miles of short walking/biking trails along the waterfront and through the marshes with several bridges and a large observation tower. It’s a great spot for bird-lovers, but also for picnicking, fishing, hiking, and biking. Check it out…
One of my dreams for Oakland is peace.
I’d love to see Ella Baker Center’s Heal the Streets succeed. Here they are talking about their vision: http://www.ellabakercenter.org/blog/2011/01/healing-the-streets-in-2011-part-4/
And here’s program that could probably do some good here:
Thanks for your comment Quercki… my dream is similar to yours… but specifically, I would like to see a reduction in the crime rate in Oakland. A neighbor of mine was recently robbed at gunpoint with her toddler in the car… terrifying to say the least.
I think the Ella Baker Center is an amazing institution and believe their work promoting social justice and providing educational/mentoring/job training opportunities can have great impact. I’m planning on joining their running team for the upcoming Oakland Running Festival to help raise awareness and financial support. I’ll be writing more about this soon…
Your photos are absolutely beautiful!