Tag Archives: ella baker center

Please Sponsor Me – Oakland Running Festival!!

Ok, I lied.  I said today would be about Kuhl Frames but that will have to wait till next week, because I just realized it’s only two weeks until the Oakland Running Festival, and I have yet to get my fundraising on.  So here I go…

I’m taking part in the Oakland Running Festival in two weeks. This will be my first competitive running event, ever.

I am raising money for the wonderful Oaktown-based non-profit organization: The Ella Baker Center For Human Rights, working to build healthy thriving communities in Oakland.

I’ve never asked for money before, so please, if you can, support me in this endeavor by making a donation at my FirstGiving page, which contains more details about EBC, how I decided to get involved, my training regimen, and more: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/oaktown-art/

Even the smallest donations will help!

You can donate online with a credit card. All donations are secure and sent directly to Ella Baker Center For Human Rights by FirstGiving, who will email you a printable record of your donation.

And please feel free to share this with anyone you think might like to donate.

Thank you so much!
Oaktown Art

oakand running festival, 2011 5k route

Random Thoughts on Thursday…

Today I’ve got a smattering of stuff… a random collection of things I’ve been thinking about recently including local independent radio, amazing restaurant deals in Oakland, and the upcoming 2nd annual Oakland Marathon…

  1. KUSF (90.3 fm) has gone the way of classical as of this past Tuesday…  I said, “WHAT?!?”  It’s true, it’s true.  Another great independent college station down the tubes.  Or at least into the tubes.  While the University of San Francisco’s station has been broadcasting via the FM airways for over 30 years, it will now be moved to an internet-only format. You can see a recap of events and listen to an archive of an interview with relevant parties on KQED’s site:

    So please, support your local independent radio.  Here’s a recent write-up on the ever-excellent KALX. And here are a few of my other favorite local stations:

      • Pirate Cat Radio 87.9FM http://www.piratecatradio.com/listen.php This is a true pirate radio station. I actually had to look up their number on the dial because I’ve only ever heard their broadcast from a particular photo studio in San Francisco – their broadcast range is postage stamp sized. In fact, they may not even be broadcasting that way anymore because they’ve had some trouble with the FCC (they simply won’t obey!)… it may be only internet now. But they play super interesting stuff consistently.
      • KFJC 89.7FM http://www.kfjc.org/netcast/index.php This is Foothill College’s radio station. Great stuff with a focus on new music.
      • KUSF 90.3FM http://kusf.org/index.shtml Similar to KALX, but broadcast from the University of San Francisco… similarly cool off the beaten path programming… lots of local bands too.
      • KZSU 90.1FM http://kzsulive.stanford.edu/Another college radio station… this one out of Stanford University. Even those Peninsula geeks can rock!
      • KPFA 94.1FM http://www.kpfa.org/ One of our Bay Area public radio stations, it’s mostly political, but they do have some good music shows. I’m particularly fond of their Thursday nights with Bonnie Simmons and Derk Richardson. But I’m old. ;)
  2. flora oakland, cocktails at flora, art deco flora

  3. Next week is Restaurant Week in Oakland. What is Restaurant Week you ask? (I’d never heard of it before either, but perhaps this is the first year?  Anyone?) In any case, it’s a week long event sponsored by the Oakland Visitor Convention Bureau in conjunction with Visit California.  Basically it’s about getting folks to come spend their hard-earned dollars in Oakland, while getting great values at an incredible variety of top-notch restaurants.  And locals can sign up too… Here’s a list of all the deals being offered:
  4. All I can say is Flora, Camino, Wood Tavern, Oliveto… the list goes on and on.  It’s going to be hard to decide where to eat~!

  5. The Oakland Running Festival! It’s coming again (March 26/27) and it’s going to be awesome.  Please check my posts from last year which have lots of information about this excellent event:

    I’ll be writing more about this in upcoming days (because I’ll by plying you for any hard-earned dollars not spent on Restaurant Week!), but I’m going to be running in the festival this year (last year I was a spectator), and I’m going to be running with Team Ella Baker Center.

    The Ella Baker Center is a local non-profit human rights organization working to “promote justice in the system, opportunity in our cities, and peace on our streets.”  I wrote a bit about them last year (Ella Baker Center Murals) and am extremely excited to be supporting their organization this year.  They’re hoping to raise $25,000 with approximately 100 runners, so if you’re interested in running with them, click this link: “Oakland Love Runs Deep“.

    I went to their kickoff party at Somar last night and it was incredibly inspiring. A representative from Corrigan Sports (the organization responsible for bringing the marathon back to Oakland… after a 25 year hiatus) recapped the 2010 event, saying that 98% of participants had a positive experience, 90% of participants came away with a more favorable view of Oakland, and thousands of dollars were raised for local organizations.  This is a super-positive event and I encourage everyone to get involved.  There are lots of ways to participate:

    • As a runner – there are races for everyone: 1/2 marathon, full marathon, relay race, twilight 5k, and kids’ fun run, and you can run for a cause too (bonus points!)
    • As a spectator – crowds lined the streets last year to cheer on the runners. It was truly inspiring.
    • As a volunteer – over 1,000 volunteers are needed to help orchestrate this huge event. Click here for more info

    More reading:  Corrigan Sports Enterprises Brings You the 2nd Annual Oakland Running Festival

Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center

Check out this building…

art in action, green media arts center

Doesn’t look like much… yet.

But in just a couple weeks, we’ll witness the grand opening of the new Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center, an outgrowth of the hugely successful Turf Unity Music project operating out of this same space, previously a youth homeless center (Covenant House California).

Turf Unity is a joint project of Cov Records, Art in Action, and Silence the Violence (one of the Ella Baker Center’s campaigns), and initially, the Ella Baker Center offices were transformed into a music studio one weekend each year to house the project. (See my previous post on the Ella Baker Center.) Now Turf Unity has its own year-round location, as do a number of other programs.

The Chronicle featured a short story about the new center earlier this week, titled “Oakland studio tries to put youth on right track“.  It includes a story of one young man, his life affected by gang violence and later transformed through his involvement with Silence the Violence… he’s now the music production manager at the center, “his first real job.” That’s the kind of positive change I’ve been talkin’ about.

The Center has a number of funders, the most prominent being the superstar hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, through their non-profit initiative the Peapod Foundation. Offering entrepreneurial, vocational, and green job readiness training for youth from historically disadvantaged communities, activities will include leadership development, new media, arts training, music production, community organizing skills, and green job education to Oakland youth between the ages of 18 to 25.

art in action, silence the violence, oakland green youth arts & media center

Five organizations will run out of the new Center:

  • Grind for the Green – committed to moving youth of color from the margins to the epicenter of the environmental movement.
  • Turf Unity Music Project – brings together turf rappers from neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area to promote unity through music, business partnerships, and community action.
  • Colored Ink – a Bay Area Based Hip-Hop Theater Group that uses the Urban Arts to inspire urban communites for social change.
  • Art in Action – committed to building youth leadership for social justice.
  • Community Rejuvenation Project – transforms blighted areas of the community through murals, community clean-up, landscaping & gardening, and community celebrations.

If that last one rings a bell, it’s because I’ve already featured a number of their murals on this site:

You Choose…
Chaos Without ~ Peace Within
May all the beings in all the worlds become Happy…

They’re producing their next mural project on the exterior of the new center, planning to finish for the grand opening party on January 14th.  My plan is to cover this process and highlight a bit more info about CRP, so stay tuned for future posts…

Ella Baker Center Murals

Just a stone’s throw from Mama’s Royal Cafe is the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, an action center working for justice, opportunity, and peace in urban America.  There are some wonderful murals on the exterior of their space, depicting the themes and goals on which their organization is focused.

ella baker center building

Co-founded in 1996 by Diana Frappier and now famous Van Jones of Green for All, the Ella Baker Center has grown in a little over 10 years from a small-scale operation with only one full time staff person, to a “grassroots powerhouse” with 24 “world-class” human rights activists.  Their work is focused through four primary campaigns designed to promote positive alternatives to violence and incarceration:

  • Books not Bars works towards redirecting California resources away from youth incarceration facilities and towards youth opportunities
  • Green Collar Jobs works towards promoting California as a leader in creating a thriving and equitable green collar economy, strong enough to provide employment opportunities for all
  • Soul of the City “works to transform Oakland into a socially just, spiritually connected, ecologically sustainable city with shared prosperity for all”
  • Heal the Streets as an outgrowth of Silence the Violence, works to provide hands on training for future social justice leaders through a 10 month fellowship program for Oakland youth and young adults (ages 15 – 18)

Ella Baker, Oakland Icons

Ella Baker is pictured above. Born in 1903 in Norfolk, VA, she grew up listening to her grandmother, a previous slave, tell stories of slave revolts. She graduated valedictorian of her college class in 1927 in North Carolina, moved to New York, and became a leading African-American civil rights leader and human rights activist for over five decades. What an incredible woman!

Black Panthers, Green Jobs Not Jails, Ella Baker Center Murals

The Ella Baker Center continues her important work into the 21st century. Please check them out… They’ve got a blog, multi-media page with music, videos, and podcasts, volunteer opportunities, and could really put your tax-deductible donations to fantastic work here in Oakland.

Ella Baker Center Mural

Green Jobs Mural in Oakland

The murals were created in 2007 through the Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center based in San Francisco, with funding from the Oakland Redevelopment Agency. Artists include: Fred Alvarado, Eli Lipppert, Gerry Chow, Anna Szumowski, Ronnie Freeman, and others.

Ella Baker Center Mural Artists