March 2015 Newsletter


Spring is almost here! This month, help us grow our work in creating vibrant Oakland neighborhoods by purchasing your Sunday Suppers ticket HERE and applying to become a HOPE Steering Committee member. Check out our other updates and announcements below. 
HOPE Spotlight
David Ralston, HOPE Partner
  David Ralston, HOPE partner

This month, we would like to highlight David Ralston's contributions to the collaborative as he transitions out of his role as City of Oakland staff to a new and exciting position with the Bay Area Air Quality District. Due to this new position's demands, David will step-down as BEAT Co-Chair and a HOPE Steering Committee member, but will continue to support HOPE.


In 2007, David and his City of Oakland colleagues were identified as stakeholders by the Kellogg Food & Fitness team and were invited to the first HOPE planning meeting. At the time, he was involved in the first round of discussion and planning around the healthy corner store project. Soon after, he took an interest in the fitness arena and became the Planning Phase Co-Chair where he helped coordinate listening sessions and microzone assessments to improve resident access of neighborhood parks. David met with numerous residents that were eager to work with HOPE in shaping the built environment action plan and forming HOPE's Built Environment Action Team (BEAT). David also held a role as Treasurer on HOPE's Executive Committee and held a seat as At-Large on the Steering Committee throughout the years.


In the recent years, David served as the co-chair for BEAT. In this capacity, he helped lead HOPE's Elmhurst neighborhood planning initiative. David facilitated the completion of a community-based assessment, which involved working with community residents and organizations to map Elmhurst neighborhood's assets and challenges. Later, this information was used to develop the Elmhurst Neighborhood Plan, which reflecting the information and resident opinions collected during the assessment, articulates a vision and concrete activities to improve the well-being of the Elmhurst neighborhood. Throughout his work, David sought to connect BEAT's work in the Elmhurst neighborhood in East Oakland to citywide planning activities and fostered pathways to advance the Elmhurst Plan.


David will continue to engage in HOPE as he is still affiliated with Merrit College's Environmental Program, is a proud Oakland resident, and continues to believe in the mission and work of HOPE Collaborative.


Food Systems 
HOPE Collaborative Rebrands the Hood
HOPE Collaborative is excited to unveil our Healthy Corner Store Project poster, designed by Oakland-based artist Favianna Rodriguez. This poster is the product of a grassroots design process, called "Rebrand the Hood". HOPE's Food Systems Action Team recognized that we are up against the junk food, alcohol, and tobacco industry's billions of advertising dollars that saturate every square foot of a small corner store. This creates an uphill battle to market healthy foods in this space, so there was a need identified to develop compelling marketing materials that would appeal to and resonate with the community. Project partners were not thrilled with the look and feel of existing healthy retail marketing materials, critiquing them as too institutional feeling. For this reason, HOPE embarked on a grassroots design process with Favianna Rodriguez and youth arts organization, Rooted in Community, to develop community-generated marketing materials and visuals.


HOPE convened 50 representatives from our community partner organizations, youth, and community members and engaged the group first in awareness raising activities, connecting food access issues they face in their neighborhoods to larger structural issues, in order to identify the values, story, and message the group wanted to convey with this program and the visuals to be created. Favianna Rodriguez, the artist, then facilitated creative activities with community members - collaging, drawing, and other artistic visioning. She took all the images that were created, pulled major themes, and created a poster and icon for the project.




The poster is currently brightening up three of HOPE's healthy corner stores who have been sites for our monthly workdays-- Three Amigos Market, Ei-Hab Discount, and Sunbeam Market. The bright, upbeat, and health-promoting design signifies to the community that the store is a source of healthy food and that there are exciting changes in process.

Food Justice 101

The Center for Social Justice and Civic Engagement program at Holy Names University hosted their 5th Annual Social Justice Forum on Saturday, February 21. Students and organizations across the Bay Area were invited to participate in this year's forum, which was focused on Food Justice. Workshops and activities were planned to engage participants in discussion around food access, food insecurity, and sustainability in farming. Some of the participating organizations included Oakland Unified School District, Food Corps, Oakland Food Policy Council, Food First, and HOPE Collaborative. Leon Davis, HOPE Steering Committee Co-Chair and a few members from the HOPE Youth Action Board (YAB) were invited to lead 2 workshops.


Leon led the workshop on Food Justice 101. He presented to over 250 people on what food justice is and the injustice Oakland flatland residents face. Everyone needs food for survival and many communities do not have easy access to fresh, nutritious, and affordable food. Leon presented the Healthy Corner Store Project as an example of how HOPE is working to navigate around the barriers to food justice.


Sarah Ting, who is taking the lead of HOPE's storytelling project, worked with the YAB media team and led an activity after Leon on Community Food Storytelling. They shared their TableShare project - building relationships and creating connections. They sat down with participants where everyone in the circle shared their food stories and how it related to their personal story. For example, instead of just saying a person's name, they learned how a mother's love can be packed into a tamale, they laughed at that time grandma ate all the chocolate chips in the mocha chip ice cream, and they applauded a mother who taught her daughter how to cook minestrone soup to help her stay healthy.


Leon, Sarah, and the youth were excited to share the work they're doing in the community and this forum allowed them to engage in rich conversations. The youth found that sharing food stories can connect us all because we all have a story to share. These are all important conversations to have because food is a necessity and we have to address the inequities communities face. 


Built Environment 
Update on the Healthy Development Guidelines Process

On February 19, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC), East Oakland Building Healthy Communities (EOBHC), and Health for Oakland's People and Environment (HOPE) Collaborative held the first Healthy Development Guidelines (HDG) meeting of 2015. The HDG process is an ongoing-conversation among numerous community-based organizations and groups in Oakland on best strategies to achieve health equity and resident empowerment. Oakland residents are important stakeholders and should have a voice and say in the process.


There was a strong resident turnout of 20 East Oakland residents, who gathered at Eastmont Mall that evening to discuss resident leaders' long-term goals and bringing recommendations to the City. The residents voiced many questions and concerns on their vision for achieving a healthy Oakland for all including, "How could community-based policy making like the HDG process be extended beyond development?" and "What kind of decision-making structure would best support authentic resident involvement and community empowerment?" There are no easy answers to these questions, and even a two-hour meeting did not provide enough time to answer those questions. Nevertheless, resident leaders want to continue the conversation on the groups' long-term goals.


In the meantime, residents also discussed changing the name of the HDG resident group and brainstormed a list of names to something more accessible and engaging, which the group will decide on at the next meeting. Also, resident leaders have been actively seeking to schedule a meeting with Mayor Libby Schaaf and no meeting has been scheduled thus far and residents have been experiencing difficulty in reaching out to her. Mayor Libby Schaaf promised to meet with HDG residents at last year's Oakland Speaks Forum.


Overall, the residents expressed a commitment to the HDG process in 2015 and they are excited and driven to meet with the Mayor, completing the HDG, and creating a new vision for healthy equity in Oakland. The next HDG meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 19. If you are interested in attending or have any questions, please contact Ruben at or (510) 444-4295.


Community Engagement 
Join the HOPE Steering Committee

HOPE Collaborative, a group of public agencies, organizations, and Oakland residents is looking for individuals to join our Steering Committee. The HOPE Steering Committee provides leadership, guidance and direction to the collaborative in working towards HOPE's vision - vibrant Oakland neighborhoods that provide equitable access to affordable, health, locally grown food; safe and inviting places for physical activity and play; sustainable, successful, local economies - all to the benefit of the families and youth living in Oakland's most vulnerable neighborhoods.


Responsibilities of the Steering Committee include:

  • decision making body of the Collaborative
  • implement Community Action Plans
  • ability to commit a two-year term (2015-2017)
  • ability to attend 9 out of 12 Steering Committee meetings per year, which take place every 2nd Tuesday from 4-6pm at the HOPE office

To apply, please complete a Steering Committee application and send it to or fax to (510) 444-4819 by Wednesday, April 15.


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.

Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedInLike us on Facebook    


HOPE Collaborative
Join Our Mailing List
In This Issue
Upcoming Events

HOPE Healthy Corner Store Workday on
Sat., March 21 from 10am-2pm at Three Amigos Market (1554 13th Ave. @ Foothill)

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