Black History Month plays a significant role in my life even though I fortunately had parents who taught me about the contributions and genius of Black people year around. I follow in my parents’ footsteps as I continue to share the inspirational stories of Black people, especial those who have fought to bring equality and justice to our country. Fannie Lou Hamer was the first person to teach me that Black women are central to resistance, and for that I am forever grateful.

“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Fannie Lou Hamer is often remembered for these famous words, and now, over 50 years later, that sentiment remains. Ms. Hamer took action at a time when society told women that they must act in ways deemed “ladylike.” 

Rather than accept that further form of oppression, she created her own definitions and expressed her discontent to the conditions of Black people on her own terms. Ms. Hamer showed up and took action. Attending a meeting, she said, “Oh, I could run this!” She approached civil rights with urgency, passion and authenticity. Her ability to translate her personal story into the need for tangible policy change is something we still use today.

In a time where we can register to vote online, it’s easy to forget that registering Black southern voters in the 1960s was life threatening. In 1964 Fannie Lou Hamer was a leader in Freedom Summer, an effort to register Black voters in Mississippi. As someone who began my own organizing work doing voter registration, I remember the courage required while going up against the system and demanding to be a part of it. Building power to challenge an oppressive system has always been a winning strategy. Alongside Ella Baker and Robert Moses, Ms. Hamer’s work yielded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) which helped build independent political power. The MFDP was created in opposition to the Democratic Party, which didn’t allow participation by Black people even though they comprised 40% of the population of Mississippi. Ms. Hamer showed that if you weren’t offered a seat at the table, you create your own table. Her work has a lasting impact on the way that we organize.

This past month I have reflected on what resistance means in our current political climate. As our civil rights come under attack, we will continue to stand up and fight back. We have a responsibility to our greater community to ensure that the voices of the oppressed are heard, and Oakland Rising does that through ongoing community engagement and organizing. Opposition to oppression takes courage, and I draw my strength from Black women like Fannie Lou Hamer who stood up and fought back even when it was dangerous and unpopular.




570 14th Street, Suite 6
Oakland, CA 94612

Oakland Rising and our collaborative partners are united in our vision for a city that embodies health, happiness, safety, and equal opportunities for all. Our goal is to create a model of progress and sustainability that showcases the possibilities for American cities in the 21st century. We are committed to dismantling the barriers of racial, economic, political, environmental, and educational inequities that have divided us, and instead, embracing the collective strength found in our city’s diversity. We firmly believe that Oakland can achieve its full potential when every resident, student, and bus rider has the ability to shape our city’s future. This vision is attainable and we are determined to realize it through our collective actions, whether it’s through voting, meetings, or call to actions.

Every year, we release a Vision, Issues, and Policy Platform (VIPP) which outlines the annual policies that we and our eight partner organizations prioritize in order to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice in the Town. Our collaborative’s agenda encompasses a range of critical initiatives, from expanding affordable housing to creating a more equitable democracy through campaign finance reforms. These priorities are designed to provide vital protections and innovative solutions for the most vulnerable members of our community. As we continue our efforts to promote these policies, we hold conversations with thousands of voters, lead and co-host impactful town hall meetings, educate and mobilize residents and voters, and undertake various other initiatives.

To gain a deeper understanding of our commitment to resist, protect, and advance in this political moment, we invite you to explore our 2023 Vision, Issues, and Policy Platform. Together, we are making strides towards a more equitable and just Oakland, and we remain steadfast in our pursuit of change, one vote, one meeting, one march at a time.

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Oakland Rising is a project from our hearts for the people of Oakland. Thank you for your contribution!