Support Rice and Beans!

Hands down the coolest Co-Op run childcare facility in the San Antonio neighborhood in Oakland is the Rice and Beans Cooperative. The center was created by organizers, artists, cultural & community workers and fosters creativity through art, music, movement and dance while also not letting kids forget about the maths and sciences. Oh so you wanna help them out but don’t know how? And you’re thinking “wouldn’t it be great to have an I HEART RICE AND BEANS t-shirt”? Today is your lucky day! Contact Rice and Beans here and order one of these in kids or adults size. Aren’t babies CUUUUTE!?


Eddie Huang in the Bay

Say what you will of Eddie Huang, owner/chef of Baohaus, but for many folks, the only job better than doing Anthony Bourdain for the Travel Channel/CNN is doing the same show (with lower production value) for Vice Travel. Part 1 of his three part series in the Bay begins with killing wabbits in Livermore and hanging with the East Bay Rats in Oakland followed by the highly anticipated visit to AzN favorites Rice/Paper/Scissors in SF. #LivingtheDream. I’m telling you.

Black, Brown, & Down DRAGraiser for Causa Justa::Just Cause

Causa Justa :: Just Cause is throwing its second dragraiser to celebrate Black-Brown Unity! It’s a special night with FABULOUSLY hot performance, music and drink specials all in support of the struggle for immigrant and housing justice! Celebrate CJJC’s work building solidarity among African-American and Latino communities to organize for housing and immigrant rights in the Bay Area and beyond.

Cost: $10-$25 // $8 Online SPECIAL
Buy your tickets today!

When the Inclusive Occupy Oakland Movement Became the White Anarchist Movement

It was happening for a while and this weekend was when the transition was 100%. The Occupy Oakland Movement was dwarfed by a handful of anarchists this weekend. Most of whom, as you can see in this photo-collage I made from the weekend’s protests photos, are WHITE. This is probably the biggest gathering of white people I’ve seen in Oakland ever. Why isn’t the media calling this out? If it was a similarly ratio’d number of Asian or Black folks, you can be sure they’d call it the BLACKS OCCUPY OAKLAND RIOT or the ASIANS TAKE OVER OAKLAND RIOT. Where are these white people coming from? Are they born and raised in Oakland? Did they go to Oakland High or Tech? Were they born at Kaiser or Highland? I don’t know, I’m not from Oakland, so I can’t say. But what I can say is that Oakland’s demographics are 26% White, 17% Asian, 27% Black and 25% Latino. And these photos make it look like the Occupy protestors rioters are 95% White to me.

This is Not the Occupy Oakland Movement

This right here is when the Occupy Oakland protests stopped being anything about the Occupy movement and turned into the continuing F Oakland/FOPD movement. Why deface a Frank H. Ogawa bust or anything civic for that matter when there’s a goddamn Wells Fargo and Bank of America and Citibank right down the street to focus on? Do these people even remember why this movement was started? Why are these white anarchists appropriating the Occupy Movement and why can’t the media stop calling this splinter group OCCUPY?!

And this sh!t right here breaks my heart. why why why why??? Are you MFers coming in from your white bread/latte sipping single family tract homes from Walnut Creek and spreading your suburban teen angst in Oakland? Do you really live in Oakland? Are you even from the Bay Area? Why would you destroy a 100 year old model of the most historic building in Oakland? Why don’t you go to Fairyland and tear out all the rides while you’re at it? Or better yet, throw a ton of bleach into Lake Merritt. Cause Wells Fargo and Bank America will go nuts if you do that. They will. They might even stop the foreclosure process on your next door neighbors (you’ll be fine though cause your trust fund’s got you covered for the next 1000 years).

Can I PLEASE see some headshots of the people getting arrested? Oh wait, that’s a great idea. I’m gonna do that in my next post… call all you white anarchists out….

The Yellow Peril x Oakland’s FeelMore510 Giveaway Collab

As part of the release of their fabulous Yellow Peril Dildo, ChimCo is teaming up with THE #1 Adult Boutique Shop in Oakland, FeelMore510, to giveaway a handful (pun intended) of dildos during their celebration of Lunar New Year! That’s right folks, no joke: FREE DILDOS, all week long! For more information on how to get your hands on a Yellow Peril at FeelMore510 (pun intended once again), check out their website or Facebook or Twitter.

FeelMore510 in Oakland (1703 Telegraph Ave), the best place to find luxury sex toys, literature, artwork and all you need for a feelgood night:

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Pop-Up Retail in Oakland

You can listen all you want to the NY Times and their travel rankings (Oakland at #5), the Town is big and there can’t be a Michelin Star restaurant in every neighborhood. There are a lot of holes in Oakland and one of the biggest ones that residents and outsiders constantly mention is a lack of retail opportunities. Whether you’re Christmas shopping or trying to buy basic necessities, its a whole lot easier to hop in a car and drive to the Oakland/Emeryville border and shop at Target, which ain’t going to fill the Town’s coffers with that tax/money dollars. Which is why this PopUpHood idea is ingenious. The basic is giving business owners a 6-month amnesty on rent but the upside is filling up those empty storefronts with viable businesses. One of the first is Manifesto Bicycles, one of my favorite bike shops ever. Its main location is near MacArthur BART, but that’s way too far to go to regularly. Which is why the new location in Historic Downtown Oakland is B-O-M-B. Take a look at this video for more info on how they put this together.

I’m (un)Officially Renaming Frank Ogawa Plaza as Frank Ogawa Plaza

I support Occupy Oakland. I don’t know where its heading and I think there needs to be more clear asks and less violence, but how can you not support a movement that brings together the 99% to rally on a daily basis. It at least keeps our urban core relevant and keeps news away from the Republican presidential nomination clusterfuck going on (not to mention the latest Tea Party protest). What I don’t agree with is how the Occupy Oakland folks have decided to (un)officially rename Frank Ogawa Plaza as Oscar Grant Plaza. And I’m completely in the Fuck the OPD camp with the Oscar Grant protestors. But if you want to diversify your folks, maybe you shouldn’t step over the legacy of a Japanese American Oakland native from the Civil Rights Movement. It reaffirms all the criticism the OWS movement has been receiving over the disproportionate amount of white folks at the protests despite the fact that the people most affected by the banks have been people of color. So in the spirit of not talking shit and actually providing answers, I’d like to suggest the following name for the Occupy Oakland camp: Oscar Grant Occupies Oakland at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Is that a little too Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for you? I tried. Can’t please them all.

And for folks who need a little reminding, a brief bio on Frank H. Ogawa from his Congressional Tribute:

Frank Ogawa was a remarkable person because he could take personal
misfortune and turn it into a positive learning experience for himself
and others. When Frank and Grace Ogawa were forced to sell their
belongings and live in interment camps during World War II, they had to
sleep on straw mattresses in horse stalls for six months before being
shipped to a camp in Utah to spend another 3 1/2 years in confinement.
Despite this mistreatment and injustice, he never lost faith in the
United States. Just the opposite–he strived to prove his loyalty to
his country and became an internationally recognized champion of Asian-
Americans in the process.

After World War II, Frank Ogawa returned to Oakland and succeeded in
breaking a series of social and racial barriers. When local residents
objected to him moving into an exclusive neighborhood, he responded by
becoming an integral part of their community and joining a host of
previously all-white organizations like the Rotary Club.
Having served 5 years on the Oakland Parks Commission, Frank Ogawa
was elected to the city council in 1966, making him the first Japanese-
American to hold a council seat in a major city in the continental
United States. He held that position for 28 years until his passing–
the longest tenure in Oakland’s history.

From his council seat, he earned a reputation as an even-handed
leader who worked diligently to improve cultural awareness, enhance
Oakland’s economy, expand its port facilities, and establish relations
between Oakland and other countries, especially Japan. In fact, Frank
Ogawa was largely responsible for establishing a sister city
relationship between Oakland and Fukuoka, Japan.

My Like/Indifferent Relationship with the City of Oakland

The following is a tirade by AzN and does not reflect the overall feelings of all BcB writers. Past and present.

Let me start by saying, I really like working in Oakland. I enjoy the warm, sunny side of the Bay, Monday-Friday. 9AM-6PM. Sometimes 9-10PM. But I gotta say, I’m not a fan of much else. I realized that this weekend when I was at the Apple Store in southside San Jose. Right before walking over to another part of a mall to watch a movie in the theater. My realization: Oakland is just so damn difficult. Everything is difficult. Its not easy to live in Oakland. You gotta LOVE Oakland to live in Oakland. Props to folks that live in Oakland, cause they really are down. Great to be you, I’m so proud. But for me, it would be hard.

Why? Oakland has the worst attributes of a suburban city and ALSO all the side effects of an urban city.

Suburban problems: suburban tract homes, dependency on cars, poor public transit, disconnected neighborhoods with separated land uses, long commutes to work (cause you probably don’t work in Oakland), fast food stores everywhere, things to do in general, and highways/highways/highways.

Urban problems: access to conveniently located stores (1/3 a TARGET doesn’t count), parking, traffic, crowded/ill-timed buses, crime or perception of crime, Race Wars!, rioting, downtown Oakland after 11PM, active parks, and Piedmont (need I say more?).

You wanna go shopping? Oaklanders drive to Emeryville. Wanna go see a movie? That’s in Alameda. Wanna work? Take the ferry to SF. Nice romantic dinner for two? Better hop on BART to Berkeley. Eventually wanna raise your kids up in a good public school? That’ll be Albany. Wanna take the kids to the mall? BART over to Union Square or Hilltop (if you’re adventurous). Wanna see Doug E. Fresh or De La Soul perform, oh wait, you can stay in Oakland for that and head to Yoshi’s in Jack London… Oh Shit, they’re not performing at Yoshi’s in Jack London, they’re at the new Yoshi’s in SF… damn.

I’m not saying Oakland isn’t a great city, I’m just saying it doesn’t have any the benefits that a suburban city provides a family and it ain’t got the benefits that an urban city provides it yuppie DINC couple (dual income no children). Sure, Oakland has San Jose and San Francisco beat when it comes to diversity cause there aren’t many Black folks in those other cities. But what about that couple from Germany you run into when you’re in SF or that family from Japan that’s on a 1 year contract to work in San Jose? I consider that diversity as well.

So I’m not sure what any of the counter arguments will be, cause I’m sure I’ll see some. But all I can say is for now, while I’m single and looking for an urban environment, I’m happy in The Mission. I can walk to cafes, bars, grocery stores and BART. And when I want to settle down and get coerced  by the missus to move to the suburbs, I’d go to San Jose where I can shop at Target and CostCo and take my kids to soccer practice, all without leaving my car. I’m not saying I would actually want to do any of this, mind you, cause I f’n hate the suburbs. But I’m just sayin’, Oakland is going to attract the folks that want a little urban/suburban mix. But getting a little of both means you’re getting both sides of a shitty coin. And the look in my friends’ eyes after happy hour in Oakland when they have to ride AC Transit or hop in their car (usually drunk) to go back home while I hop on BART to continue the party in the Mission. That shit is priceless and I’m glad I’m walking those steps to BART and not waiting for the #18 to never come on Broadway.

All Eyez On Oakland

by BCB co-founder and Oakland native Sherdizz

This past year and a half has been filled with all types of emotions. Anger. Anxiety. Fear. Sadness. Through modern day technology, the murder of a young unarmed black male by a uniformed white police officer was captured on video cell phones back in January 2009. The nation saw and heard the shot that tragically ended the life of a father, a son, a friend, a loved one.  It wasn’t the first time a young person of color has died by the hands of a police officer sworn to protect and serveNor was it the second. Or the third.

It was however, the first time it was captured on camera. A year and a half we waited to hear the fate of a killer caught on tape. With the evidence on our side, we stood on the precipice of what would have been the most historic verdict ever, an on duty cop guilty of murder.

Then after 2 weeks of trial and less than 7 hours of deliberation, the jury came back with a verdict of guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter, a conviction that would sentence the killer to anywhere between 2 to 4 years in jail, which means Johannes Mehserle, the white police officer, could quite possibly serve less time in jail for killing Oscar Grant, than Michael Vick served for his role in commissioning dog fights. So yes, once again, the justice system failed us horribly. Then, all eyez turned to downtown Oakland to wait the aftermath of the verdict.

What brought tears to my eyes after the verdict was announced wasn’t just the sadness I felt for a clearly broken and unjust legal system in this country, but because of the impacts this tragedy has taken on the city of Oakland. As an Oakland Tribune writer so eloquently stated, Oakland had nothing to do with the tragic murder of this young man. The murderer was a BART cop, not an Oakland police officer. The victim was a resident of the neighboring city of Hayward. The killing took place on a BART platform, which just happens to be within the boundaries of Oakland. But why blame Oakland for this murder? Had the killing taken place on the Bayfair platform, would San Leandro police have prepared for post-verdict rioting as well?

As though Oakland doesn’t already have enough tragedies, injustices, and challenges to overcome, it appears to also now be the punching bag for regional public discourse. It was disturbing to read the articles and hear the news reports about the preparation for mass rioting in the streets of Oakland post verdict. But why Oakland? Why was it Oakland back in January 2009? Why take to our streets and destroy our small business? Why use up our tax dollars to clean up the aftermaths of broken glasses and burnt trash bins? More importantly, why must our young people have to defend their image to the nation that they are not about violent protesting? During the 2009 riots right after the murder of Oscar Grant, police records show that over 75% of those arrested were NOT residents of Oakland. Outside agitators took to our streets to make a statement that was not only counterproductive to the movement for social justice, but also reinforced to the nation an even more violent image of our beloved Oakland.

Caught in the line of fire, Oakland became the battlegrounds for this fight by default. Realizing this, Oakland residents and those who truly care about this city, took on the call for action. Immediately after the verdict, peaceful protestors demonstrated outside Oakland city hall to voice their frustration, not just with the verdict in this case, but for the many other cases of excessive force by police officers on people of color. These folks held banners and posters with Oscar Grant’s image and name, not to make a martyr out of him, but to symbolize a call for change in the broken justice system in this country. Young people from local youth organizations spoke about not just the need for justice, but for peace and strategic actions to bring about this justice. They live in violence everyday of their lives, not by choice, so to knowingly cause violence is not what these youth of Oakland are seeking for. These messages came from people who truly care about changing the broken system and truly care about Oakland.

And then, the sun set, and the anarchists and self profiteering individuals decided that Oakland doesn’t deserve peaceful protesting. They decided that breaking storefront windows, vandalizing my gym (gawddamn you!), looting foot locker, and causing massive chaos was how they wanted to deliver their message. But what was their message? So for these individuals, I ask you, why Oakland? Why loot our businesses, tag on our walls, and burn our street benches?

My message for these agitators, be they from Oakland or not, you might not care about the impacts that your actions have on this city, but the rest of us who are connected to this place do. We care about the image, the people- young and old, and livelihood of this place. We care about the movement for social change. And we care about fight for justice for all the Oscar Grants out there. So don’t represent our city with your counterproductive actions. You, are not Oakland.

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