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Community activism on the rise, join in (City Hall Scene)

Attendees at Arise HS event, photo by Z'ma Wyatt,

Attendees at Arise HS event, photo by Z'ma Wyatt,

In case you missed it, Oakland has been a bubbling hotbed of political and community activism these days.

From Mayor Jean Quan's push to get 2,000 volunteers to mentor at-risk students, to education activists demonstrating against budget cuts, Oakland is definitely raising its voice and taking a stand.

So, if you're feeling the urge to make your own voice heard - whether you want to dive into political action, help the schools, or volunteer at the port - here's a few items to put on your calendar:

  • TODAY, Thursday, March 3, join GO Public Schools and MK Think for a community convening to discuss the capacity, enrollment and demographic data being used for Oakland Unified School District strategic planning. The event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Jack London Aquatic center, 115 Embarcadero. For more information click here.
  • Wondering what's to become of the Lake Merritt Station Area? If you missed the first planning meeting, you've got a chance to catch up this Saturday, March 5, when the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan community workshop meets again to discuss ideas about how the area should develop into the future. The open house at 9 a.m. kicks things off and the workshop will focus on the area, which includes the greater Chinatown area. Like the Feb. 26 meeting, it will be held at Laney College Student Center/Cafeteria, 900 Fallon St. Workshop material is here. Newsletter for the project is here.
  • Also on Saturday, March 5, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Mayor Jean Quan is holding a District 6 Town Hall Meeting at Havenscourt  Middle School. This will be the mayor's second Town Hall meeting with Oakland residents. For more information, contact Jeffrey Cash.

Now if you're interested in long-term opportunities to help the city, there are numerous city board and commissions that need new members. Here's just a couple of commissions that have openings:

  • Both the Port Commission and Planning Commission are looking for candidate. Note: they both require a major unpaid commitment. For the Port of Oakland gig, a letter of interest and resume should go to Richard Cowan who's looking for candidates with financial oversight experience, knowledge of trade or transportation industry and/or knowledge of China and other major trading partners.
  • The Mayor's Commission on Aging, has four vacancies. The commission works in partnership with the Department of Human Services to identify and support senior resources to address the needs of the city's diverse population of senior citizens. Contact Tracy Jensen at or call (510) 238-3434.

To check out other boards and commissions openings, visit the city's website.

A writer and photographer, Jennifer Inez Ward has been documenting Oakland neighborhoods for more than 10 years. A graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, she focuses on the uniqueness and beauty of everyday life in a city that is too often overlooked for its treasures and pleasures. Throughout the years, Jennifer has had the honor of showcasing her work at a number of venues, including a permanent loan of images that are displayed on the front wall of Barnes and Nobel in Jack London Square. Jennifer is a featured artist documented in “Images of America: Black Artists in Oakland."

When are the streets going to get paved, pot holes filled, and garbage cleaned up off the streets? The infrastructure of the city is going down the sewer.  The whole city needs a face-lift badly.