Breaking the Cycle in Oakland: A Woke Grandparent’s Story

Connie Williams is a mother and grandmother of Oakland public school children, she also graduated from Oakland public schools. She is one of the lead parents in the Oakland REACH, a new parent driven organization advocating for quality education for ALL of Oakland’s families with a focus on equity.


Making our Voices Heard

We are the Oakland REACH. We are here, we’re excited, and we couldn’t have come at a better time. Why? Because we are parents who are fed up.

We’re fed up with the way the school system has failed us time and time again…first with the way the system has failed us, and now with how we are watching it fail our kids and grandkids.

We are here to make our voices heard. And to break this cycle.

We are fired up, and ready to go!

Are you ready to go?

An Oakland Journey and a Dark Secret

Then let me take you on this journey with me—why I’m standing here today.

This journey began when I graduated from an Oakland public high school and walked across that stage with a deep, dark secret. I was graduating high school with A’s and B’s, and yet, I couldn’t read.

My mom trusted this school, and the school failed us.

This was my reality—and because I couldn’t read—it became my kid’s reality.

And I’m here today because I’m fighting like mad to make sure it’s not my grandkids’ reality.

Not on Our Watch

Standing up and saying I couldn’t read was my wake-up call. And I hope it’s your wake up call, too. This cannot be our reality anymore. Not on our watch.

So there is a problem. Do I have all the answers? No. But TOGETHER, The Oakland REACH have a voice to make the powerless parent powerful.

So far, we, The Oakland REACH, already talked to over 300 parents and grandparents at community meetings we hosted. We learned more more about the district budget, making our voices heard, sharing information, and receiving your feedback.

We’re woke now. And we ain’t going nowhere. We demand change. We’re breaking the cycle.