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12 minutes | 7 days ago
Dale and Sunny: An East Oaklander and His Horse
Dale Johnson grew up in East Oakland with stories of his grandfather riding horses on a Texas ranch. For years horses were just part of a family story. But one day, a pair of polo boots caught Dale's eye and he was brought back into the world of equestrians.Now Dale and his horse, Sunny, are deep in the horseback community. Last fall, they joined other riders, like Brianna Noble, to ride through San Francisco's Sunnydale Projects on Halloween dressed up like Wakandans . They were also part of the Ride Out to Vote campaign last November.This week on Rightnowish, Dale and I talk about what it means to be a polo player and an equestrian in the face of race and class stereotypes that come with being an African American man from East Oakland.
14 minutes | a month ago
Breena Nuñez on Zines and Feeling Seen as an Afro-Latinx Comic Artist
Breena Nuñez is an Afro Guatemalan-Salvadoran cartoonist who grew up on the Bay Area's peninsula. Now she lives in the East Bay.Nuñez's illustrations cover everything from commentaries about electoral politics to autobiographical comics about gender, sexuality and race.African ancestry in Central America is a through-line in Nuñez's work. Sometimes she explicitly brings it up in the captions, other times she subtly alludes to it through hairstyles or a character's skin tone.Earlier this year, Nuñez and her partner Lawrence Lindell co-founded Laneha House, a small press where they publish their work and the work of The BAYlies collective. And just this month, the two got married.
11 minutes | a month ago
The Road to Reparations Through Black Genealogy
Alex Trapps-Chabala is a young genealogist whose main focus is tracing the lineage of African American people.He grew up between Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood and the Bay Area. But as preteen, his family sent him to live with with relatives in Alabama to get some discipline for an attitude problem. It was that time spent in the south that pushed Alex toward becoming a genealogist.Alex says that while in Alabama, his grandmother taught him about his family and showed him how to dig through archives and records in order to uncover more information.As he got more invested in genealogy, he saw gaps in how African American history is told, as well as opportunities to illuminate more Black family histories.Alex began pulling up vital records, census records and even digitizing records of home births. With the help of others in genealogists, Alex is compiling a database he hopes will be a resource for African American families.Now through his startup, The KinConnector, Alex is aiming to have an easy to use database that fills voids in African American histories.
12 minutes | 2 months ago
The Parallel Lives of One Community Organizer and the First Openly Gay Black MLB Player
Vincent-Ray Williams III is the Operations Coordinator at Oakland's LGBTQ Community Center. Through this position Vincent has a hand in developing the Center's Glenn Burke Wellness Clinic.The clinic, which is named after the Oakland A's player who was discriminated against for being the first openly gay major league player, is set to open early next year. Vincent says the clinic will focus on HIV/ AIDS testing and prevention.Vincent, who was born HIV positive, says dispelling negative notions of people living with the virus is the work he finds most purposeful.
13 minutes | 2 months ago
Family, Eritrea, and Berkeley at the Heart of “Everything”
Abdulalim A’Omer grew up in a tight-knit Muslim Eritrean community in South Berkeley.He says that experience exposed him to a little bit of everything-- fashion, basketball, family, politics, religion, technology and more. It all proved to be a foundational part of Abdulalim's multifaceted Everything brand, which wants to ask its users, what's your everything?Abdulalim, or Abdul for short, is the oldest of four boys. His parents immigrated from Eritrea, allowing him to become a college educated entrepreneur. Their sacrifices aren't lost on him and he maintains a connection to their homeland. But recently, he's watched Eritrea become enmeshed in a brewing civil conflict in the neighboring country of Ethiopia.In this week's episode of Rightnowish we talk to Abdulalim about how he is using technology and art to bring people into his world of culture, community and ... everything.
11 minutes | 2 months ago
Essential Work: Designing the End to Mass Incarceration
Deanna Van Buren is an architect, but she goes far beyond just designing buildings. She uses her craft to demonstrate new structures for justice in our society.Van Buren is the co-founder and Executive Director of Designing Justice, an organization that she says focuses on "ending mass incarceration through innovations in the built environment, using both finance and design together." Designing Justice has launched projects across the country: They're behind a Peace Making project in Syracuse, a restorative justice project in Detroit, and they're looking to convert an Atlanta jail into a community center.Locally, they've refurbished a MUNI bus to create a mobile school in San Francisco and in East Oakland, they've built a community center based in restorative justice practices.This week on Rightnowish, Deanna Van Buren discusses what it means to design for a more equitable society.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
Election Anxiety? Laughter Gets Us Through with Luna Malbroux
Comic Luna Malbroux loves to stay informed, and she also loves to laugh.By prioritizing joy in her life, she has the energy to confront racism, sexism and the stress of this election season.Just this week, Malbroux-- who is also a musician and sex coach in training-- spent election night co-hosting a live event for the San Francisco AIDS foundation. She brought the laughs and she brought some deep political knowledge.In this week's episode of Rightnowish, Luna's got jokes and wisdom on how to find pleasure in these tense times. Hit the play button to catch some serotonin.
13 minutes | 3 months ago
Hunger Strikes, Prayer Dances and Protests: A Photographer in Community
Denis Ivan Perez Bravo is an East Bay-based photographer and organizer who isn't shy about jumping right into the action.The images he captures on the front lines of protests in Northern California show the intense struggle of today's social movements.The risk of bodily harm can come from both sides of a scrimmage. While covering the news, Dennis has been hit by projectiles fired from police weapons and risks being trampled by crowds of protestors.On top of that, Denis is undocumented, so he's literally risking his freedom. But he says that his photos are worth it.Beyond capturing images from the front lines in the battle for justice and liberation, Denis also fills his camera rolls with shots of community sporting events and cultural affairs from his neighborhood in Richmond, CA.This week on Rightnowish, we talk to Denis about what it means to be on the front line, and why he sometimes crosses that line.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
These Community Aunties Want Legendary Black Creative Spaces
Two years ago Tayleur Crenshaw and Maud Alcorn started the arts collective, Gold Beams. It began as an open mic Crenshaw hosted in her living room -- called Second Mondays -- which eventually grew into a larger monthly event at Red Bay Coffee headquarters in East Oakland."It’s like emotional stories that they kind of leave at the altar at Second Mondays. And us as community aunties, we are there to rub the backs and to listen and be an ear. We’re just here for people’s emotional journeys," says Crenshaw.Since shelter-in-place orders came down this spring, Gold Beams has pivoted while staying productive. They're doing a filmed series of intimate performances highlighting Black artists, called Fourth Mondays. They're also working in collaboration with Welcome To The Table to produce a series of filmed conversations about relationships amongst Black artists in the Bay Area. It's called, In Real Life: A Conversation Between Black Men and Women. And if that's not enough, they've also mounted a photo exhibition, which largely features the work of Dorean Raye, myself and other photographers who've captured their events; the framed images are posted at Oakstop at 1721 Broadway in downtown Oakland. The exhibition is titled, Mondays Were Never the Same, and is open for timed reservations. But do it fast, it's only scheduled to be up until November 6th.
18 minutes | 3 months ago
Cat Brooks on Refunding the Community
In January of this year, Cat Brooks and the Anti Police-Terror Project launched a service where trained professionals respond to mental health crises; it's an alternative to people calling the police to handle the situation.The service, Mental Health First, or M.H. First, initially launched in Sacramento, and began serving Oakland this summer. Brooks says that M.H. First's work is just one part of the effort to refund the community and divest from overspending on police.This week on Rightnowish, Brooks discusses M.H. First, the racism she encountered as a young person and she traces her origins in organizing back to the killing of Oscar Grant-- a case which was recently been reopened.
11 minutes | 4 months ago
The Townfolk Project, Documenting Oakland’s Community
About two years ago photographer Scott La Rockwell started taking photos of longtime Oakland residents, and interviewing them about their roots in the Town.He published the pieces online, calling it: the Townfolk Project.He says he initially planned to take photos of 100 folks from a cross section of backgrounds and neighborhoods, but with COVID-19, things slowed down. He’s sitting on about 20 published interviews.But this past summer, when store owners boarded up their buildings to discourage any vandalism that might come after peaceful protests, Scott’s project got an unexpected canvas: the windows of a building on 13th and Broadway.Now about a dozen of Scott’s photos of artists, activists and folks who’ve been putting on for the greater good of Oakland are mounted on one of the most prominent corners of the city.This week, we talk to Scott La Rockwell about the importance of showing the community to itself, especially at a time when people are so divided.
15 minutes | 4 months ago
The Abolitionist Fighting Sex Trafficking with Words and Altars
Regina Y. Evans works with a team of folks to assemble altars on International Boulevard in Oakland, a hub for adult sex workers as well as the sex trafficking of minors.Regina says the goal of the work is to be present for the girls-- "Beloveds" as she calls them.The altars are decorated with art, flowers, letters and fabrics, and since the start of the pandemic, she's been adding hand sanitizer, condoms and PPE. Regina says her team builds these altars as an offering and that she doesn't directly approach the Beloveds, instead she allows the altars to be an opening for interactions.For Regina, spirituality, social commentary and artistry all weave together in her mission to abolish the sex trafficking of minors.You can see this in all her work: She owns the vintage boutique, Regina's Door, which also serves as a safe haven for at-risk youth and survivors of human trafficking. And in addition to designing costumes for stage shows, she writes and performs her own plays-- which are informed by the work she does on the streets of Oakland.
14 minutes | 4 months ago
The East Bay Poet Bringing Cheesecake to Your Door
A few years back, Victor Harris Jr. was selling maple peach bourbon cheesecakes at an Oakland event. He says an older African American woman sampled a slice and he watched as her eyes rolled back in her head before they re-focused on on him. She asked Victor to come closer, so he leaned in and she smacked him softly in the face. Then she complimented his work and ordered a cake to go.Victor, who is DJ, a former race car driver, a poet and owner of Reuschelle's Cheesecakes, hasn't been working any events this year due to concerns around COVID-19, but he's still finding ways to bring his sweets to peeps. He's selling at the Castro Valley Farmers Market, and the Temescal Farmers Market in Oakland. He's also doing personal deliveries-- and he says that's his favorite part of the job.This week, I interview Victor about the origin of his cheesecakes and his poetry, which caught the ear of Rightnowish listener Rebecca Hensler, who suggested we interview Victor.
14 minutes | 4 months ago
The Queen of Vinyl and the Ears of Rightnowish
Ashleyanne Krigbaum spins vinyl at weddings and dive bars, sound designs museum audio tours, and was the founding producer of KQED's arts and culture podcast, Rightnowish.You might've heard of it.Ashleyanne, who can trace her East Bay roots back for a few generations, grew up along the Delta in the town of Bethel Island. And after calling Berkley home for the past couple of years, she's decided to move to the Los Angeles area, where she'll embark on a great career opportunity-- and also enjoy a new romantic partnership.Before Ashleyanne left the KQED team, we put her in the hot seat and asked her the hard questions. You know, like: what does it take to produce a weekly arts and culture show? What's her philosophy on creative collaboration? And what's the story behind her technicolor hair?
10 minutes | 5 months ago
Sometimes, It Takes Time
Erina Alejo is an educator, artist and cultural artifact keeper. But when asked how they self-identify, Alejo says they're, "a third-generation renter."Alejo's grand-aunt immigrated from the Philippines to the Bay Area in 1959. Soon after, other family members joined. They lived in the East Bay city of Pittsburg, before moving to San Francisco. They've been renters the whole time.Now Alejo, who spent their early years in the Mission District before being priced out and moving to the Excelsior, says they've been watching the story of gentrification unfold through a unique lens.
9 minutes | 5 months ago
Quarterback Josh Johnson Explains There’s More to the Game
Oakland's Joshua Johnson knows about the commitment, focus and strategy it takes to compete at a high level. He's a professional NFL quarterback with over ten years of experience in the league. And recently, he's taken those same qualities to the world of online gaming.Johnson is a co-founder of the Ultimate Gaming League (UGL), an e-sports platform where gamers compete, create community, and talk trash to one another.Beyond fun and games, Johnson says there are ample entrepreneurial opportunities in the world of digital gaming, especially when it comes to individuals branding themselves. Johnson's aim is to make sure folks in his community are taking full advantage of the platforms that are growing more popular by the day.
11 minutes | 5 months ago
Sowing Seeds of Social Justice in Fruitvale
Michael Muscadine was born and raised in East Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood, where his family goes back several generations. Muscadine says that's where his grandfather, John Melendrez, instilled in him the idea of community oriented social activism. Now Muscadine works as a life coach at the Fruitvale-based nonprofit, CURYJ, which stands for Communities United For Restorative Youth Justice. Muscadine works directly with young folks-- many of whom have had run-ins with the justice system-- to assure that they have resources like food and housing.Muscadine also works at a community garden in the same neighborhood where he works and lives. Through gardening, and his work at CURYJ, he's literally planting seeds in the same place he has deep roots.
9 minutes | 5 months ago
Keeping Yourself and Your Culture Healthy During COVID
As the Director of Homeless Services for the Alameda Health System and the Chief Clinical Officer with Health Leads, Dr. Damon Francis has his hands full.Before the pandemic, Dr. Damon performed heath checkups, tests, and provided resources for people living without shelter and those living with HIV. This year he's taken on treating people living with the virus and informing people how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.When he talks about quelling the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Damon relies on something he learned while working with people living with HIV/ AIDS: you can't demonize human behavior.He believes that people are going to be people; he just wants them to do so in the most informed and healthy way possible.So, when it comes to the ongoing conversation about gatherings in public spaces, like Oakland's Lake Merritt, Dr. Damon doesn't condemn people, instead he asks them to socialize in the healthiest fashion possible: wearing masks, washing hands, staying more than six-feet apart; he also suggests looking at the Alameda County Health Department's page for further information.
10 minutes | 6 months ago
'Paint Us in a Beautiful Light': Photographing Black Joy
Amir Abdul-Shakur's Instagram page, AmirThePhotographer, looks like a community yearbook. His shots are mostly portraits of Black folks in Oakland, and show each individual in their own radiant light.His images, some of protests and others of parties, all seem to have an underlying joyous sentiment.
9 minutes | 6 months ago
Futbolista Turned Marijuana Medicine Maker
Dania Cabello is a former professional fútbol player, who now teaches the sport to young folks through the program Oakland Street Stylers. She was one of the main characters in the film Futbolistas 4 Life and is a producer on the series, The North Pole. But her most recent venture involves juicing marijuana leaves to make healing salves and bath salts; and her company is called Ojo De La Sol.After mastering her remedies in her kitchen, Dania says she went through the long bureaucratic process of filing paperwork, getting her products tested and when she finally got access to a space where she could mass produce, that's when the first shelter-in-place orders came down from Governor Newsom.Since then, she's struggled to get her products into stores, as meetings are hard to arrange while socially distancing. But nonetheless, she's managed to set up her online shop and sell her her salves and bath salts through a digital storefront. After all, this is a time where masses could use medicine.
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