Meet our facilities Coordinator, Clidell “Franceyez” Jackson III
In order to help our supporters learn about the staff they’re supporting, our super volunteer Jean Jeffress did a series of interviews with the OPC staff to learn about our work. Check out this feature on our facilities coordinator, Clidell. You can reach Clidell at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you are always welcome to support our work by clicking on this link to donate.
“Franceyez envisions a future where the Oakland Peace Center will become an affordable and public community work space for entrepreneurs, artists, activists, organizers, and youth. Being an athlete and a former professional basketball player, he is passionate about using his teamwork skills and coaching abilities to create a youth sports program.”
Instead of the regular fundraising appeal, our intern Tia suggested we thank you for your continued support by introducing you to the folks whose work you invest in. You’ll meet our facilities coordinator Clidell “Franceyez” Jackson III this week! Our super volunteer Jean Jeffress interviewed us and wrote up all the pieces. (Thanks, Jean!) We hope you enjoy the journey with us; we love working with each other and with you to create a community of peace. Oh! And to donate, please visit this link (we hope you’ll consider a recurring donation and we also believe every dollar counts!), or mail your check to 111 Fairmount Ave., Oakland, CA 94611.
-Sandhya, director, Oakland Peace Center
Greetings friends, supporters, and lovers of the Oakland Peace Center. The first installation of the OPC staff member highlights will be with Franceyez Jackson, the Facilities Coordinator. Franceyez and I had a great conversation one morning, and much of what will be written in this piece will be his words, even though I will not be using quotations.
Clidell “Franceyez” Jackson III serves as facilities coordinator: he’s the guy you book reservations with, and the one who figures out what to do when the trash is overflowing…or the toilet’s overflowing…or a tree has crashed into the historic stained glass. He’s also the guy who makes sure everyone who uses the building knows that their work for peace matters. And he does all of that in twenty hours a week (although most weeks he’s putting in more than that).
Franceyez has been involved with the OPC since its origins almost six years ago, when it was still a dream. He worked at the Ella Baker Center and co-founded the hip-hop and digital arts based United Roots Center in Oakland. Both of these organizations have been OPC partners since the beginning. Franceyez has witnessed the OPC go from an idea to a reality. He has been the Facilities Coordinator since June of last year. What he likes the best about being at the OPC is that he gets to take lead and initiative to help organize young minds in order to help transform the building that houses OPC. As a rap artist, he knows how to motivate young minds creatively.
Franceyez envisions a future where the Oakland Peace Center will become an affordable and public community work space for entrepreneurs, artists, activists, organizers, and youth. Being an athlete and a former professional basketball player, he is passionate about using his teamwork skills and coaching abilities to create a youth sports program.
Franceyez currently coaches the youth basketball team of the First Mongolian Church housed in the building with OPC. This is the first year that First Mongolian Church has had a youth basketball program. Franceyez is very proud of the kids. They will have graduation ceremony where all the kids will be given awards for their hard work on the basketball team. Franceyez would like to be a part of expanding the youth basketball program in the community. He says that youth need to learn to deal with team dynamics to help them with group dynamics in life. He would like to see a funded youth basketball program centered at OPC.
Franceyez’s connection to OPC goes back even farther than its beginnings. He grew up in Oakland and as a child, he lived in the same neighborhood as First Christian Church of Oakland, which gave birth to the OPC. He remembers from years ago a woman named Sun Cha from First Korean Christian Church, which met in the building until it closed, who fed and took care of the feral cat community who lives on the grounds of OPC. The cats’ original caretaker was a homeless gentleman named Al. He was a member of First Christian and slept in the garden room. He kept an eye on the building and the homeless population and he took care of the cats. Being on the streets is lonely. He loved the cats, and in that way, the cats took care of him. After Al died, Sun Cha took over. Now, all these years later, Franceyez helps Sun Cha. The cats are a part of the community, and they remain in honor of Al. Oakland Peace Center is about community, and community can take on many forms, even cats.
Franceyez believes that the community created by the Oakland Peace Center is worthsupporting. Every contribution counts. “We are on the ground floor of putting the effort to bring the community together, not just for Oakland, but for the whole world. These are troubled times and we need a solid place where we can deal with issues that affect everybody.” Every place Franceyez travels on behalf of OPC he meets people who know about the Oakland Peace Center, who believe in the collaborative model. People see organizations coming together to eliminate competition for resources and instead sharing them. These organizations share the goal of making peace, so it’s more effective if we support each other along the way.
Franceyez cares about peace in Oakland because peace is vital. “We need peace of mind, we need world peace, we need inner peace, and it is more constructive to be peaceful,” he says. “Peace is more likely to attract polar opposites and create a field of neutrality. That’s what electricity is. Peace is electric. Essentially, peace is practical, and better for relationships and creativity. We should celebrate peace like we celebrate Halloween or like when we have a street fair; just go out in the streets and celebrate it, and create community around it.”
Franceyez closed out our conversation with a fun Sandhya story. A few months ago the OPC staff was setting up of an art exhibition in the fellowship hall. They were busy setting up and getting things ready. Suddenly, they heard music coming from somewhere.
“Diamond in the back. Sunroof top, diggin’ in the scene with gangsta lean;” Curtis Mayfield’s “Diamond in the Back” was streaming through the place. People were turning around like “what’s that?” They realized Sandhya was singing full voiced, not a recorded cover of Curtis Mayfield. Franceyez says Sandhya’s voice is always pulling them together no matter what she is saying or singing.
If you want to say thanks or hello to Franceyez, feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com. Again, we’d be delighted if you would also support the staff supporting the work of peace in the East Bay by donating to the Oakland Peace Center at this link. Thanks again to Jean Jeffress for taking the time to write this piece