Oakland Voices

Oakland Voices class of 2014

The Rock

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

By Gerald Green - A petite yellow butterfly air-danced above my head while I looked towards the intersection of Elysian Fields Drive and Golf Links Road. Speeding car tire sounds reverberated in my ear. Many drivers approaching didn’t slow to turn left on to Elysian Fields, but those who did saw a large flat oblong river rock with humps pointing skyward at both ends. “Sequoyah Highlands” engraved on its face, the rock serves as the gateway to my neighborhood.


Ms. Lola’s Place

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Tom Webb - It may seem odd to suggest that a homeless woman actually has a place to call her own.  Ms. Lola is a middle-aged African-American woman who stands vigil on International Boulevard near 50th Avenue each day. I introduced myself to her last September and she told me her name. A neighbor told me Ms. Lola has lived in this East Oakland neighborhood for a long time.


Bancroft between 66th Ave. and Havenscourt

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Tiffany Lacsado - It is a Sunday mid-morning on Bancroft Avenue between 66th and Havenscourt. People are milling around going from one place to the next. The “saved” are in cars circling the block, praying to the parking angels so they can park not too far from the steps of their houses of worship.


FM Smith Park

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Shavonnee Clark - As I sat on a bench at FM Smith Park on East 20th Street and Park in east Oakland, a calming breeze filled the air. It was 5:30pm on a Tuesday summer afternoon and though the sun was out, the cooling breeze mitigated the effect of the blistering sun. People came and went leisurely through the park, picking up their children from a city-sponsored daytime summer camp as a “Free Lunch” sign hanging from the park’s gymnasium blew lazily in the afternoon breeze. There were a few children left playing basketball in the park.


Cesar Chavez Park at Night

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Sergio Martinez - Cesar Chavez Park (located on Foothill Blvd. between Bridge Ave and 38th Avenues.) Slightly cold with a slight breeze. I sat near the end farthest from Foothill, closer to the small walking bridge that connects to 37th Avenue. I noticed broken glass, graffiti on the walking bridge and lots of garbage near the small creek beneath the bridge. For the 15 minutes that I observed, I did not see anyone walk through the park.


Clinton Neighborhood In June

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Sara Rowley - Fifteen minutes of true quiet in my neighborhood is hard to come by. I am at the median that runs diagonally through the intersection of E. 18th Street and 12th Avenue, where large rocks sit under a wide-limbed oak tree. It is not busy, though I can hear the sounds of two birthday parties from this spot. The first is taking place at the apartment complex across from my house, where they are playing Notreño music. The second party is all indoors, but I hear bits of Cantonese conversation mixed with toddler yelps.


4701 San Leandro Street

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Saa'un Bell - It’s grimy. Industrial. It looks like no one lives here. But if you look closely, you’ll see the rusted tin metal numbers on the concrete gate: 4701.It smells of welded metal & black ash, dogs and weed.


Wednesday afternoon in Elmhurst Park

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Le'Ana Powell - It’s Wednesday July 2nd at 3:36 p.m. I’m at Elmhurst Park located between C Street and B Street on 98th Avenue. I feel a breeze on my arms, face, and chest. My bare feet feel the grass as I sit on the concrete platform located in the middle of the park. The basketball court and the playground are empty. One guy sits alone on the bench at the tennis court with a bag and a jacket lying next to him.


An Evening in San Antonio Park

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Jimmy Jordan - As the sun begins to set over Downtown Oakland, San Antonio park gives light to a beautiful environment. The sky is partially cloudy with a slight breeze blowing against the leaves. It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Monday evening. As I sit on top of a hill watching the park from a distance, a mother is joyfully play-wrestling with her children. Another mother is slowing chasing after her laughing toddler and a couple of siblings are fighting and joking with each other as they walk up the hill with no parents to be found.


Healing & Art at Highland Hospital

Friday, July 11, 2014

By Erik Chavarría - Twenty-four hours a day the electronic doors open and close.  I sit in front of Highland Hospital and wonder about all the stories that go untold here as this particular emergency room has the most traffic in all of Alameda County. The doors, welcoming Oakland’s injured, sick and needy, labeled “Entrada Principal” and “Main Entrance” surely never get any rest.