A guest post by Oakland student Jeremiah Vaughn, one of Oakland’s Energy Converters
I live in Oakland but I don’t.
Let me explain
See I’m from the old Oakland
where everyone knew everyone
and the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” actually showed.
I’m from old Oakland
where if you got in trouble at school
the whole block was gonna talk to you.
I’m from old Oakland
where during the summertime
kids played football in the street
and spent almost everyday at the pool and the park
at least until the streetlights came on.
This isn’t Oakland anymore.
This is new Oakland
where it’s not safe for kids to play outside anymore.
This Oakland is plagued by drugs,guns,and violence.
This Oakland has kids younger than me carrying a twenty two
like it’s a toy.
This Oakland has kids that are twelve and thirteen in juvenile hall
for twenty-five years for selling drugs.
makes me scared to raise children where I grew up.
This isn’t Oakland anymore
it’s a war zone
that many are struggling to get out of
but not many make it out.
It’s not all bad
there are some who push for the restoration of our amazing city
but are constantly pushed 5 steps back after taking two steps forward.
To be honest I don’t know what this new place is
it seems so foreign
it’s hard to recognize the same people I used to run with.
Yes people change
but it shouldn’t be to the point to where they’re unrecognizable.
Oakland is hurting
crying out for help
but many push the call to the back of their minds
and push through their day
fearing that they’re going to be the only one that wants change
and if they pursue it, they’ll be shunned,pushed away, and exiled
from the very place they call home.
East, West, North
it doesn’t matter which part u live in and what set you claim
push your pride to the side for Oakland as a whole
if we don’t care about OUR city
then all that will happen is the same thing that’s already started.
Gentrification will spread
like a fight around a high school
and I refuse to be pushed out of my city by someone who isn’t Oaklandish.
This is our Oakland let’s bring it back.