My Words Are My Words
 Fallout From The Demise Of A Proposal For A Black District In Downtown Oakland
November 15, 2017

Kept In The Dark About Bus Rapid Transit - Part II
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October 16, 2017

The Death Of Laney College As We Know It?
 Hard To See How The Proposed A's Baseball Stadium And Laney Community College Can Exist Across The Street From Each Other
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Blood Drops On The Sidewalk
 An All-Too-Common East Oakland Mystery
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Kept In The Dark About Bus Rapid Transit
 Few Bus Riders And Residents Know The Purpose For The Massive Street And Sidewalk Construction Along East Oakland's International Boulevard
August 3, 2017

The Healthlessness Of Homelessness
 How The Health Crisis In Oakland's Homeless Camps Affects All Of Us, And What We Can Do
July 25, 2017

Oakland's Black Arts And Business District Left Off State Pilot Project List
 Where Will The Official BAMBD's Funding Come From Now?
July 16, 2017

And About Those Hidden Community Benefits From Carmel Partners
 Some Details About What We Know And What We Don't Know Was Granted To The Community Coalition
June 27, 2017

A Darktown/Chinatown Brawl? A Councilmember Responds
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Is There A Darktown/Chinatown Brawl In The Making In Oakland?
 Confusion In The Drafting Of The Boundaries For Oakland's Proposed New Downtown Black Cultural And Business District Could Cause A Turf Battle Between Two Of The City's Most Important Ethnic/Racial Communities
May 26, 2017

The Laney College Athletics?
  Oakland's Professional Baseball Team Is Looking At Building A Stadium On The Grounds Of One Of The City's College Campuses
May 17, 2017

The Beautiful Babies Of Khan Sheikhoun
  Donald Trump's Choices In The Wake Of Syria's Poison Gas Attack
April 11, 2017

Breaking The Stalemate Over The Oakland Black Arts District
  Narrowing it down to the two major errors that caused the problem
February 10, 2017

A Tale Of Two Visions: Oakland's Downtown Black Business And Arts District
  How a single initiative to create the district became competing proposals at odds with each other
January 26, 2017

Imagine A Special District In Downtown Oakland Highlighting Black Arts, Business, And Entertainment
  A step towards uplifting Oakland's African-American population and rising all of Oakland's boats in the process
January 12, 2017

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My Words Are My Words

November 15, 2017

Whatever happened to those ambitious plans to create a Black arts and business district in the downtown section of the City of Oakland? After a lot of advocacy and activity leading up to this past summer, they seem to have faded from sight.

I have a personal reason for bringing this up, but first, some background.

As I wrote in a column in July of this year (“Oakland's Black Arts And Business District Left Off State Pilot Project List” []), the Oakland Black Arts Movement and Business District (BAMBD) “was the creation of Oakland Third District City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney... On paper, it runs in an eight block corridor with Broadway at the center between Chinatown and Uptown, from the western bank of Lake Merritt to the 880 freeway. It was officially set up to ‘highlight, celebrate, preserve and support the contributions of Oakland’s Black artists and business owners’ in that downtown/West Oakland corridor.”

Both the general concept and the details for this proposed Black district was the product of a community advisory group called the Culture Keepers, which Ms. McElhaney had set up to help her office bring such a district into being. Among those individuals who became active in the Culture Keepers was longtime Oakland poet and playwright Marvin X Jackmon, who had worked in the original Black Arts Movement in both the Bay Area and nationally in the 1960’s. According to Ms. McElhaney, Mr. Jackmon had long been promoting the idea of a Black Oakland district independent of the Councilmember, and it was at Mr. Jackmon’s urging that the name “Black Arts Movement” was eventually incorporated into the name of the McElhaney-sponsored district.

Mr. Jackmon argues that because of those contributions he made to the project, the Black district should not be listed as the “creation” solely of Ms. McElhaney. I disagree, so there’s a difference of opinion between us, but I think that’s a small point, not worth haggling over. [To Complete Column]