Oakland Local

By Esperanza Tervalon-Daumont

Executive Director, Oakland Rising

The beautiful possibility of Oakland is that there is real opportunity for everyone, not just people from some neighborhoods. Working together to build a 21st century Oakland we can be proud to call home means that we won’t leave anybody behind.

But the reality is that too many families in the flatlands are living on the edge of their dreams. Most are without good jobs, education and or opportunity for healthy livelihoods.

History shows we make great progress when we invest in a real partnership between our government and our people. As one of the most diverse cities in the nation, Oakland’s government has to work hand in hand with all communities to address all our people’s needs.

Oakland needs an authentic local democracy to tell elected officials what we want, and hold them accountable for making it happen. We should have votes that reflect our diversity and policies that make it easy for all of us to help make important decisions.

As the city moves to make its’ budgeting process more transparent and accountable, we can’t forget a critical priority for 2013 – redistricting.

Drawing new council and school board district lines after the Federal Census of 2010 is Oakland’s chance to protect neighborhoods and communities of interest while lifting up “one person, one vote” that ensures equal protection and representation.

Since our founding in 2009, Oakland Rising has fought to increase civic participation among low-income, immigrant and voters of color living in the flatlands of East and West Oakland. We have talked to over 50,000 residents and informed them about budget choices that create real public safety, security and opportunity.

Oakland is changing and I am deeply concerned about what I see. Poor, working class and people of color are fighting foreclosure, eviction, gentrification and displacement citywide (especially in West Oakland, Fruitvale, San Antonio and Deep East Oakland).

Flatland voters in these communities deserve better services and respect from city government. But that won’t happen if the city fails to involve residents in redistricting.

Redistricting should be about adjusting district lines in a way that reflect changes in population while keeping communities of interest together.

Building a brighter future in Oakland means nurturing places where we can live, work, play, learn, love, chill, jam, grow and hope together. It means honoring the history of our city, and cultivating trusting relationships between Oaklanders – old and new.

City government should prioritize responsible development that boosts beautiful neighborhoods, strong families, safe parks, excellent after-school programs, local arts, culture, and Oakland pride (without pushing people out). Anything less is not enough for this beautiful town!

That’s why Oakland Rising is partnering with Urban Strategies Council, ACCE, League of Women Voters and concerned residents to engage Oaklanders in learning more about Voting Rights, redistricting, and one person, one vote. Our coalition is honored to have received funding from the James Irvine Foundation to support this work.

You can learn more at www.oaklandvotes.org or by following #OaklandVotes on Twitter.

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland.




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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!