Author Archives: Sandhya
Please note: because of the short timeline, there is a long list of organizations who WANTED to be there, and a lot of folks who asked that we do it again. After the long weekend, we promise to pull ourselves together and find another time to do this! We’re grateful for your support and enthusiasm to create positive change in our community! Thanks to the 400 people who came out in the rain! WOW!
One other small plug: the Oakland Peace Center is at the beginning of our annual fundraising campaign. We work hard to run from individual donations and are grateful for any support you can offer. Many of you generously donated on the day of the event; THANK YOU!
Here are the organizations that did table (and beneath that, the ones who wanted to; many LGBTQ+ organizations were at a CommUNITY event that day but want to be at the next event for sure, and helped spread the word):
Organizations who wanted to attend but could not:
Anti-Police Terror Project
ASATA (Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
Bloom: Transgender Community Healing Project
California Peace Alliance
Center for Sex and Culture
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
Oakland Community Organizations
Project Peace East Bay
Organizations officially a part of the Oakland Peace Center can be found here. If your organization is interested in affiliating, please email email@example.com.
note: Please visit our facebook page for a regularly updated list of organizations tabling on Saturday and to spread the word.
You have a role to play over the next four years. Explore what it can be this Saturday.
If you have experienced grief over the past week, we understand. If you have marched, held hands around the lake, worn a safety pin, walked out of school, or were too overwhelmed to do any of that, we understand.
But you have a role to play in making our community and our nation a place that cares for the well being of the earth, where immigrants and people of all faiths can walk the streets safely, where people (and particularly women) have access to health care, where LGBTQ+ people’s rights are protected, where people with disabilities are valued for their contributions, where bullying and harassment have no place in our society.
If you are brand new to activism or are looking for a new way to engage, join the people who are working in immigration reform and legal services, anti-bullying work, ending mass incarceration, and creating connections between people of all races.
Find out how you can use your power to reject hate and create what Dr. Martin Luther King called The Beloved Community.
Participating organizations will be added to the Facebook Event page as they are confirmed.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Oakland Peace Center
259 29th Street
Oakland, CA 94611
Letter from the Executive Director (full PDF of the annual report below):
“We Can Do More Together”
The team at the Oakland Peace Center is gearing up for a year of phenomenal programs in 2017, but I could not let this moment pass without acknowledging what we accomplished together in our last fiscal year (August 2015-July 2016).
San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland show up in lists of the Top Five Most Expensive Cities to Live In. Five years ago, we did not anticipate that the Oakland Peace Center would play a crucial role in stopping the displacement of a dozen essential nonprofits in Oakland. But we are so glad we had the foresight to create an affordable space for nonprofits to serve the community. In the last year, partly thanks to our 40,000 square foot facility, our 40 partners served over 86,000 people. That includes groceries distributed to neighbors in need, It includes yoga classes for underserved communities. It includes wrestling classes for Mongolian children and youth. It includes nonviolence trainings in jails and prisons. It includes workshops on addressing the needs of the Black immigrant community. It includes work to de-escalate violence in the street as well as work to end state-sanctioned violence.
We could not accomplish all this work on our own: we are a staff of 1.5 plus occasional dynamic interns. But our forty partner organizations accomplish so much more because of our space and our support and our ability to connect them with each other. We are excited to expand on that work in the coming year, thanks to your support.
Peace Starts With You. Violence, Hate, and Injustice End With Us.
We Can Do More Together.
Sandhya Jha, executive director
PS: You can support the work of the Oakland Peace Center by joining our volunteers (email firstname.lastname@example.org) or by donating to support the amazing programs happening in the coming year (http://oaklandpeacecenter.org/donation). You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn about our partners’ work every month by emailing email@example.com!
September 22, 2016
written by Virginia White, OPC intern
Decades after suffering a stroke at the young age of 24, Ms. Susan stood in front of the crowd attending the International Day of Peace Celebration co-sponsored by the Oakland Peace Center and St. Mary’s Center. Years ago, doctors told her that she would never walk again, yet today she walked right up to the podium unassisted.
“I didn’t listen to those doctors,” she proclaimed triumphantly; “I knew God has the final word in our stories!” The crowd roared.
Ms. Susan recalled how her mother nursed her back to health, rubbing her legs, providing her encouragement and unyielding love. And as she remembered her mother’s final message to her—how proud she was of her—the storyteller choked up a little.
Much violence results from our inability to recognize our shared humanity. When this is the case, listening to someone’s story becomes a radical act.
Community members from a youth empowerment organization, a Filipino rights advocacy group, and local nonprofits gathered with homeless senior citizens at St. Mary’s Center that morning (Thursday September 22) to do just that: to listen. At this peace day celebration, stories took center stage amid a diverse offering of song, spoken word, guided meditation, even dance.
Participants heard a Latina octogenarian’s memories of growing up in a segregated neighborhood, and the influence of her grandfather had on her as he instilled in her a sense of dignity and self-love. In a world torn by racism, she found a sense of self-worth.
Part of the story of peace in Oakland is about everyone having access to shelter, food and fair paid work. (Peace begins when the hungry are fed, as the saying goes.) During the gathering, organizers talked about ballot initiatives in November. The very proposals lifted up (to bring more beloved family back from prisons and to give them more opportunities at home, to provide rental justice and funding for affordable housing) were part of the story of how people are striving to create peace. The St. Mary’s seniors knew the names and letters of every initiative discussed, a powerful illustration of the active side of peace-making.
The morning ended with the group holding hands to sing, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The refrain of the song declares, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!” Offering everyone present a moving and empowering reminder of the role we all have in creating the peaceful world we seek and often it begins by listening to the person in front of us.
 pseudonym used