February 2015 Newsletter


In honor of Black History Month, we recognize the notable leadership and contributions of African Americans in creating healthy communities and advancing social justice. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Marcus Gavey were strong leaders in movements for social justice, but we also want to highlight the innovations of lesser-known African American individuals.


Did you know that West African slaves brought rice, a staple of modern U.S. diet, to North America and showed colonists in South Carolina how to plant them? Or that Garrett Augustus Morgan, an African American invented a three-way automatic stop light, whose design was purchased by General Electric and is credited with being a predecessor to the modern day traffic signal?


HOPE, being one of many social justice organizations serving communities of color, works every day to address the root causes of social injustice. The work with community partners and members would not be possible without the sacrifice and service of African American individuals from the last 400 years.   


HOPE Spotlight
Nehanda Imara, Community Organizer and HOPE Partner
Nehanda Imara, community organizer and HOPE partner

This month, we would like to highlight Nehanda Imara for her commitment to environmental justice for Oakland residents. Nehanda is a longtime resident of and change maker in East Oakland, a community disproportionately suffering from health disparities. She works as a Community Organizer at Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), and is a longtime lead partner with HOPE Collaborative's Built Environment work. Nehanda had been part of our Elmhurst Neighborhood Planning Initiative since the beginning stages and a seminal partner in forging our partnership with East Oakland Building Healthy Communities (EOBHC) where she chairs the land-use workgroup, and the East Oakland Coliseum City Coalition. In these roles, Nehanda provides leadership to community-based efforts that work on behalf of the East Oakland community and promote environmental justice as well as resident empowerment.


HOPE promotes environmental justice and resident empowerment through our built environment projects and Nehanda has been a vital member of our Built Environment Action Team (BEAT). HOPE's BEAT is a group made up of residents, public agencies, and Oakland community-based organizations that support and implement the Elmhurst Neighborhood Plan initiatives to change a long neglected community in East Oakland. Overall, the projects in the Elmhurst Plan increase community services, add more greenery, and improve the health and living conditions in the Elmhurst neighborhood in East Oakland. Due to Nehanda's community organizing expertise, she ensures BEAT projects promote community interests. She also helps outreach to local residents, including youth, parents and long-time residents. This year, CBE will lead a BEAT project to canvass the Elmhurst neighborhood, asking residents' opinions and informing them of opportunities to participate in BEAT.


Nehanda organizing East Oakland residents to protest against Neptune's crematorium development.

Whether leading a community-based effort to stop a hazardous crematorium in East Oakland or spearheading Earth Day in Oakland, Nehanda's organizing always places residents at the forefront, promotes collaboration with partners, and makes activism fun and engaging. We thank Nehanda for her support of HOPE Collaborative and look forward to her continued collaboration.


Food Systems 
Abdu Treats His Customers Like Family
Luis Vasquez and Luis Ramirez are involved in the Youth Action Board's (YAB) Youth Media Team and co-leading TableShare, a community food storytelling project at HOPE that aims to lift up the voices of those most impacted by inequities in Oakland, shining light on grassroots leaders who are creating change and changing the face of food system leadership. In partnership with the RYSE Center in Richmond, the Youth Media Team has participated in a series of trainings to empower them with the storytelling skills needed to produce a series of videos, photo portraits, and events that culminate in a mapping project and social media campaign.

Luis and Luis interviewed Abdu Abdulalim, owner of Three Amigos Market in Oakland, CA to share his story. As Abdu shared his life story, Luis V. felt a deep personal connection to his experiences. This intergenerational connection led to a relationship between the youth crewmember and Abdu, who now asks how "his boy" is doing whenever the team visits. This is just one example of the more profound community building and mentorship this project facilitates. Though this is a storytelling project, at its core, it is also about dignity, fostering connections in the community, and building awareness from broader audiences.  


Check out the youth's first video featuring Abdu and how he is improving his customers' wellbeing by bringing in healthy food items in partnership in HOPE's Healthy Corner Store Project.


Healthy Corner Store Makeover at Eihab Discount

On Saturday, January 24th HOPE's Healthy Corner Store Youth Leaders made some big first steps in turning Eihab Discount into a healthier store for students and families to shop. The youth leaders are all interns from Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA), one of four schools located directly across the street from Eihab, and the event was part of an ongoing youth internship project to transform the store. Prior to this event, the youth leaders surveyed over 100 Eihab customers to learn whether people are interested in healthier options, what they would like to see introduced to the store, and how much they might spend. Using this survey information, the student team set priorities for changing the store, developed a few new menu items, and created a plan for the first step of making the store healthier - highlighting what is already healthy in the store. Their end goals are to improve the store to make it healthy and for people to start eating healthier.


HOPE's youth leaders were joined by 12 classmates from CCPA who participate in the BuildOn service learning program. One team prepared food samples like fruit cups, sandwiches, smoothies and salads to give out. Over 40 taste testing surveys were collected from customers who gave feedback on the samples. The team wanted to see what people would actually want in the store and whether they would actually buy the new food items.


At the same time, two teams of students reorganized the store so customers would see healthy products first. For example, one team worked on moving sugary drinks to the back and healthier drinks, like water and 100% juice, to the front. They also organized the shelves into categories, grouping like items together. All this work inspired the store owner to move a candy shelf that was blocking the grocery aisles to the back of the store.


The group learned that it takes everyone -- the store owner, community members, youth, and organizations like HOPE working together to makeover a store. If you would like to get involved or find out more information about our Healthy Corner Store Project, contact Angela at 510-444-4221 or angela@hopecollaborative.net. 

Community Engagement 
Youth Conserve Areas for a Healthy Oakland
Photos courtesy of Resilient Oakland.
Community-based organizations and Bay Area cities have been working together to nominate lands to protect for the Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs), a land use tool for the City Council that prioritizes funding to protect areas that provide agricultural, natural resource, historical, scenic, cultural, recreational, and ecological values. Oakland is one of the Bay Area cities engaged in the PCA process, which will support its growing population by maintaining and sustaining affordability, an equitable economy, communities, and natural landscapes.


On Saturday, January 17, high school students were invited to attend a PCA forum co-sponsored by Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC), Sustainable Youth Program, and City of Oakland at Oakland City Hall. HOPE YAB members, Ayana Edgerly and Luis Ramirez, were among the 20 youth who attended the forum that day. They teamed up with other youth to map out which areas they would like to see conserved and brainstormed ideas on how to make Oakland greener and healthier. The youth prioritized conservation of community gardens in West Oakland and would like to see more parks and trees in East and West Oakland.



Overall, the event gave the opportunity for youth to learn about city planning and give their input and ideas for the PCA, which was also brought to Mayor Libby Schaaf at the end of the forum. Ayana Edgerly, HOPE Youth leader, thought the forum was a great experience and allowed her to shape Oakland's future. She says, "it was both a learning and meaningful experience. I felt I was able to represent a group that is usually unrepresented in these types of projects". In the next few weeks, the City's Planning Department will be integrating this information along with input from other organizations and present a report to the City Council to approve.

Stay tuned for more updates from the HOPE Collaborative. You can also visit us at www.hopecollaborative.net, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and like us on Facebook to find updates.

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In This Issue
Upcoming Events

Local Food Policy Councils Panel Discussion hosted by Food First on Wed., February 18 from 6:30-8:30pm at La Pena Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)

Leon Davis,
HOPE Steering Committee Co-chair, presents Food Justice 101 at the 5th Annual Social Justice Forum on Sat., February 21 from 10:30-11:45am at Holy Names University (3500 Mountain Blvd.)

HOPE Hangout
Mon., Febraury 23 from 4:30-6:30pm at the Obelisco Restaurant (3411 E. 12th St.)

Built Environment Action Team
meeting on
Tues., February 24 from 4-6pm at
RISE Elementary (8521 A Street)

Oakland Planning Commission public hearing on Coliseum City on Wed, March 4 from 6-7pm at Oakland City Hall (1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza), Hearing Room 1
Sunday Suppers benefiting HOPE Collaborative at Pizzaiolo on
Sunday, April 19. Purchase dinner tickets here

Alameda County Social Services Agency
Farm Stand every Monday from
10am-2pm at
Eastmont Self-Sufficiency Center (6955 Foothill Blvd.)

Every Saturday from
10am-3pm, get fresh and healthy produce at the Freedom Farmers Market (5316 Telegraph Ave.)


� 2015 HOPE Collaborative


221 Oak St. Ste. D, Oakland, CA 94607 | Office: (510) 444-4133 | Fax: (510) 444-4819

 HOPE is a project of The Tides Center