November 2014 Newsletter

Learn more about the people taking the lead on the Healthy Corner Store Project and meet our new staff member below!

HOPE Spotlight
Healthy Corner Store Leader
Paula Beal, HOPE Healthy Corner Store Project Leader
This month, we would like to recognize Paula Beal for her contributions to our collaborative.

Paula has a passion for healthy living and is heavily involved with organizations working on behalf of community residents such as Causa Justa::Just Cause, People's Grocery, and HOPE Collaborative. Since 2010, she has been an active member of HOPE to improve food access.

Paula graduated from HOPE's Leadership Institute and Training of Trainers, and is the co-chair of the Food Systems Action Team. As part of this role, she is a Healthy Corner Store Project Leader in her community in West Oakland. Paula has done outreach to multiple corners stores in West Oakland to recruit store owners to participate in the Healthy Corner Store Project and trains volunteers to conduct customer surveys.

Since her involvement at HOPE, Paula has strengthened her networking skills, pitching her work to different audiences, and community organizing. Paula is excited to see her project roll off the ground and create healthy changes in her neighborhood.

Built Environment 
Introducing Ruben Farias, HOPE Project Associate
Ruben Farias, HOPE Project Associate.

We would like to welcome Ruben Farias to the staff of HOPE Collaborative. Ruben will support the implementation of HOPE Collaborative's built environment work. Ruben grew up in South Central Los Angeles with his mother and siblings. In the summers, he took the bus everyday with his mother to work. Those trips were slow, inconvenient, and sometimes dangerous. These experiences influenced his career choice to make neighborhoods safer for people to live, work, and play in. At the time, he knew there had to be better ways and wondered why the people who ran the transportation systems didn't make better decisions with families in mind. 


Ruben first formally explored issues of racial discrimination and inequality at Occidental College, where he conducted independent research projects on the No Child Left Behind Act and urban poverty. Because Ruben enjoyed doing research, he went to grad school at Texas A&M and studied in the Ph.D. program in sociology. One day during finals, surrounded by a stack of books, he realized that he missed working directly with people like his family. So, he moved to the Bay Area with his wife and completed a policy fellowship at ChangeLab Solutions where he learned more about public health. Now, luckily and happily, he joins the team at HOPE Collaborative where he hopes to work with all of you to improve health outcomes for Oakland communities.


Transforming G Street
Photo courtesy of Urban Releaf.

On a chilly Saturday in late October, residents and community groups gathered in the rain to envision a G Street without illegal dumping. Together, they planted 12 trees with flowering native plants along 8 blocks that is usually used to growing piles of mattresses, broken appliances, car parts, used needles, and dead dogs wrapped in trash bags. Additionally, they collected several bags of litter and had large waste removed by the city. Now the block has budding signs of life and neighbors say the illegal dumping has already slowed down. But this is just the beginning of a larger plan and vision, Phase One of the "G Street Transformation Project."


During the Elmhurst Neighborhood Planning Process lead by HOPE's Built Environment Action Team (BEAT), residents identified reducing illegal dumping on G Street as a high neighborhood priority. G Street is bound by a few houses along with large industrial businesses like A&B Towing. It's a wide street that is not inviting to travel by foot and faced by a lot of blank warehouse walls and fences. Cars race down it, especially at night, and it has been a magnet for large amounts of illegal dumping. Block by Block Organizing Project, District 7 (BBBON D7) had also noticed this issue and organized a successful MLK Jr. Day of Service event in January 2014 that attracted over 80 volunteers. Building on this momentum, BBBON D7, a participant and adopter of the Neighborhood Plan, applied for a HOPE Collaborative mini-grant to make lasting change on G Street. Their "G Street Transformation Project" envisions a comprehensive strategy to engage residents, businesses, churches, and local organizations to reclaim G Street and turn it into a place that is clean and feels safe for residents - a place people can be proud of. Their plan is to support neighbors with trees, planter boxes, motion-activated lights, cameras, and signs to let dumpers know that the community cares and is watching.


To transform G Street, BBBON D7 has partnered with BEAT and other groups including Urban Releaf (a tree planting group), NIMBY (a local industrial arts space), Cosmopolitan Baptist Church, the City of Oakland Public Works Department, and local volunteers. Their hard work has just begun and we can look forward to continuing to see G Street transform. You can read Urban Releaf's detailed account of the October 25th event see more photos here.  

Community Engagement
Oakland Speaks
By Esther Goolsby and Leon Davis

On October 22, 2014, HOPE Collaborative members Leon Davis and Esther Goolsby helped moderate and facilitate East Oakland Building Healthy Communities' (BHC) Oakland Speaks Policy Forum at Allen Temple Arms. Other participating organizations included Causa Justa::Just Cause, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), East Bay Housing Organization (EBHO), Transform, and more. This one-of-a-kind forum was for Oakland residents to come out and ask mayoral candidates how they would create safe and healthy neighborhoods, access to healthy food, good jobs, and healthy families. Candidates who were present at the forum included Rebecca Kaplan, Jean Quan, Libby Schaaf, Courtney Ruby, Dan Siegel, Patrick McCullough, Nancy Sidebotham, SaiedKaramooz, Bryan Parker, Joe Tuman, and Charles Williams.


East Oakland BHC and partners prepped for the forum months beforehand by phone banking and surveying hundreds of registered voters in Oakland about issues the city needs to address. Survey questions were generated from over 40 EOBHC resident leaders and the group decided at monthly meetings on 12 questions to ask candidates that was interconnected to the issues identified by Oakland residents. Leon Davis, HOPE Steering Committee Co-Chair and Esther Goolsby, HOPE Built Enviornment Co-Chair were both recruited to participate in the phone banking process. This was a rewarding experience for them because they got to reach out to and hear from other residents and present their concerns to the mayoral candidates.


More than 70 people attended this forum to share their stories and concerns as Oakland residents. Many residents wanted to see an improvement to issues they, their families, and their neighbors face such as transportation, the environment, community gardens, economic development, and displacement. Some of the questions residents asked their future mayor included, "How would you address the high unemployment rate in African American communities?", "Why have we had so many tenants displaced? The law is written more for the landlords. What will you implement to improve tenant rights and stop the displacement?", and "Why are blacks most affected by gentrification? Oakland lost 13% of black residents. Why are so many tenants still displaced? What will you do? What are you doing for homeless? How do we make sure we benefit and aren't pushed out by Coliseum City?"


Libby Schaaf, newly elected Mayor of Oakland, spoke on her top priorities to create better opportunities for residents, particularly around employment and housing. As mayor, she plans to push the city to adopt the "ban the box" policy, which removes the question on job applications about the applicant's criminal history to remove unfair barriers to employment and she will create a housing task force to protect tenant rights. Esther says, "They [candidates] all seemed passionate about what they said, but saying something is way different from doing something." EOBHC will be planning a follow up meeting for Oakland residents to ask Mayor-Elect Libby Schaaf what specific policies and strategies she will support. Oakland will be watching to see what Mayor-Elect Schaaf will do to uplift its residents.


Youth Action Board Grows
YAB members volunteering at a Healthy Corner Store Project Redesign workday.

Each year, the Youth Action Board (YAB) recruits new members. This year, the YAB selected 8 new members out of a total of 26 applicants to join the YAB, totaling 18 YAB members. YAB may welcome additional members to the group as activities grow.  


Recently, the YAB held their first meeting and are in training mode to learn more about HOPE's work around food systems, the built environment, and the connection to various social justice issues. YAB members will all select a workgroup over the coming weeks to focus their work for the rest of the year. Workgroups include FEEST, Healthy Corner Store Project, Elmhurst Neighborhood Project, school food, and Story-Telling Project.  


We are excited to welcome the new cohort of YAB members to HOPE!


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

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HOPE Collaborative
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In This Issue
HOPE Spotlight: Healthy Corner Store Leader
Introducing Ruben Farias, HOPE Project Associate
Transforming G Street
Oakland Speaks
Youth Action Board Grows
Upcoming Events

Communities for a Better Environment
(CBE) invites you to Breath of Fresh Air, a report back from the community led air quality monitoring project on Fri., November 14 at 3:30pm at the 81st library, 2nd floor

Oakland Food Policy Council
celebrates 5 years of Love & The Hustle on Fri., November 14 from 7-10pm at Warehouse 416 (416 26th St.)

Built Environment Action Team
(BEAT) meeting on Tues., November 25 from 4-6pm at RISE Elementary (8521 A St.)

Shop Small Campaign
at Frank Ogawa Plaza on Sat., November 29 from 9am-9pm

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.)
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 HOPE is a project of The Tides Center