Image from Respectourcity.org, a collective effort of Oakland community members
If Luke Brekke-Meisner, Justin Warren, the team at Oaklandish and other ROC collective members have their way, this First Friday is going to have a different vibe than in months past.
For Brekke-Meisne, Warren and the Oaklandish crew, the goal is to have the city be green all over with Oaklanders and visitors to the city signing an anti-violence petition that allows them to purchase a kelly green Respect Our City T-shirt from Oakland retailer Oaklandish. The Respect Our City Movement- a collective effort of Oakland community members-- aims to have Oakland folk sign a nonviolence pledge, then wear a nifty shirt that costs $10, with part of the money going to provide the same shirt to an Oakland youth.
It may be only a T-shirt, but for those engineering its distribution, it has special value. The pledge says:
"As proud Oaklanders, we value a culture that promotes respect, creativity, safety, equity, and community.
We pledge to be peaceful and positive to help Oakland become a safe community we can all take pride in.
We proudly wear this "Respect Our City" t-shirt to symbolize our personal commitment to be our best selves and to help others do the same.
Respect Our City tees now available for purchase online once you sign the pledge for peace. http://bit.ly/XIsaOl and will be on sale on First Friday at Oaklandish."
Oakland film-maker Jenny Chu, who teaches film to teens at The Media Enterprise Alliance at KDOL, is on a team developing of a First Friday documentary. According to Chu, "First Friday is a documentary about a community’s response to a crisis. In the weeks leading up to March 1 event, we’ll follow a diverse group of residents and community leaders as they work to preserve this symbol of Oakland’s renaissance." (sic)
Oakland caterer, jewelry maker and activist Needa Bee, along with friends Tim Diesel and Frisco Jones, are inviting folks to a Heal the Hood gathering on Friday right at the center of the Art Murmur territory. On the Facebook page for the event, Bee writes:
"In light of this tragedy and the consistent reality of violence and senseless deaths plaguing the Town (and the world) First Friday organizers decided that for March's 1st Fridays, we want to take this opportunity of having a captive audience of up to 20,000 people to remember and honor Kiante and the hundreds of murders (mostly unreported and forgotten) that have happened in Oakland. We also want to address solutions to violence and lasting peace, call for unity across oakland's neighborhoods and sets, celebrate our collective strengths and diversty, reflect and more towards forgiveness and healing.
"On the EPICENTER block (west grand - 23rd) we want to broaden our scope to also address the root causes of all forms of violence in our community: poverty, domestic violence, racism, police terror, the street economy, gun violence, sexual exploitation and abuse to just mention a few.
"On the EPICENTER block, our theme is HEAL THE HOOD. We will be using arts and culture as a vehicle and platform for change.
"On our block we will have:
"* a block long response wall for people to write or draw their ideas about the root causes of theses various forms of violence and ideas for solutions.
*we will have various organizations who work around these various forms of violence in Oakland setting up tables to pass out info, plug people into work and collect donations. We know that many of you come to this monthly phenomenon and spend money on amazing artists, food and beverages. we are asking that this month you put some of your hard earned dollars towards organizations that are in the trenches everyday addressing the root causes of violence in our town, state and world
* bay area sound bosses ((local 1200)) djs will be providing the soundtrack to set the tone for our event and keep you inspired and celebrating and contemplating.
*confirmed speakers include: Healthy Hoodz, POOR Magazine, Oscar Grant Foundation, Justice for Allen Blueford, All Of Us or None, Bikes4Life, Be About It Movement,
*confirmed Performers include: PO'Poets, Ayodele Wordslanger Nzinga, Ras Ceylon, Paradise the Poet & Planet Oakland, wolfhawkjaguar, Suga T
*our usual collage of oakland based artisans will have their handmade creations.
*Big Serges BBQ. Tacos Oxaxaca, Pupusas Cojite, Bombass Bakery and the coffee cart lady will be on the block to provide you delishessness
"from 5:00 - 6:45 local 1200 will keep the block lit and inspired
6:45-7:45 will be the performers and speakers
7:45-9 local 1200 resumes their audio offerings to peace, unity and celebrating life"
There also are several youth-focused programs happening this month - including Paola Zuniga and friends' offering a Solutions Salon from 4 to 6 p.m. at The New Parkway on 25th Street. There also may be a youth space at First Friday at 23rd and Telegraph produced by a handful of Oakland youth under 12 years old.
According to organizer Needa Bee: "The vendors, performers and visual artists on the block are all under 12. Their theme is INCREASE THE PEACE. There will be dance workshops with turfing 24/7, an open jam session hosted by Girls Rock Camp for any one under 12 to join, scheduled performers and speakers."
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/190754694381731/