They come in trucks, on foot, in the middle of the night or the middle of the day, slipping into the alleyway running behind 7th St. in the Iron Triangle section of Richmond, and leaving behind bags of garbage, construction debris, and just about anything too big to fit into an average trash can.
“Hello!” Anne Griffith called out as she unlocked the front door of a recently purchased home in the Elmhurst neighborhood of East Oakland. Though the house was purchased in foreclosure, and has stood empty for months, Griffith expected an answer to her call. She got one.
Walking into the classroom of Richmond’s Latina Center intimidated Maria Lourdes Sanchez. The other Spanish-speaking women in the room, who also came to develop their leadership skills, were welcoming. But Sanchez was still afraid.
Toody Maher’s charge to renovate the Elm play lot in Richmond is a testament to perseverance. The small park sits on a corner in the Iron Triangle neighborhood, a low-income area that sees much of Richmond’s street violence. The play structure is a primary-colored island surrounded by grass and sidewalks with no pedestrians. On a recent sunny fall afternoon, the yellow and blue slide, built to beckon children, stood empty, the swings hung still. The only sign of life was an ice cream truck that drove by slowly, with a song playing hopefully from its loudspeaker. Maher has fought for two years to change this small corner of a poor city’s poorest neighborhood through an organization she founded, Pogo Park. She’s learned to embrace the series of never-ending challenges involved in making a play space for the youngest residents of Richmond’s Iron Triangle.
Three Stanford Medical School students have helped organize a local effort to offer flu vaccinations at two polling places in Santa Clara County Tuesday. Jessica W. Tsai, one of the organizers, explains why they got involved and how the clinics will work in this blog post.
In the past three years, two bullets shattered the front window, a teenager was shot just outside and the downstairs neighbor was mugged. Before that, a woman’s lifeless body was unearthed from a dumpster less than a block away. But this area of East Oakland — where the neighborhoods of Fruitvale and San Antonio meet — is where Dr. Joan Jie-eun Jeung chooses to live with her husband and their six-year-old son.
Driving across the commuter bridge that connects Marin County to the city of Richmond is not just a trip across the bay. It’s also a trip across a social divide. On one side of the bridge, Marin’s rolling green hills and roadside bird sanctuaries are laced with trails and encourage biking, walking and running. Fresh produce abounds in Marin. Drive over the Richmond Bridge, and you’ll find a very different environment. In poorer neighborhoods in Richmond, people are often afraid to walk outside or take their children to the park. Healthy food is harder to find. And these differences are reflected in the health of the residents on each side of the bridge.
San Jose pediatrician Daniel Delgado has a big problem. His young patients – all from low-income families – are overweight or obese and in danger of developing diabetes. Many don’t have access to the fresh fruits and vegetables vital for better nutrition. How to connect his patients with the foods they so desperately need?
Oakland Unified School District’s Excel and Mandela high schools have found the right formula to keep students engaged and invested in educations – and they are sharing it with the public. With a focus on public service, Excel High School’s senior class recently stood before the student community and the public and discussed, presented the facts and defended their dissertations on varied topics. Some of these included teen pregnancy, homelessness, the affects of drugs and alcohol on families, single-parent households, literacy and even police violence.
An East Oakland center for young people is an oasis of hope in a community in crisis. It provides counseling, job training, recreation, health care and more. Soon it will host a series of meetings between Oakland police officers and local youth to try to reduce tension between law enforcement and the community.