Christmas Shows Up at Juvenile Hall

From left to right: Pastor Brondon Reems, Aries Jordan, Toya Carter and Marvin X. Photo by Adam L. Turner.

It was 18 years ago when Chief Sylvia Johnson and Bishop Ernestine Reems got together and devised a plan to give hope to the children in Alameda County Juvenile Hall.
Thursday night, the tradition continued with the East Oakland Churches and others who love  children hosting a holiday feast
Among those who participated were Kingdom Builders, Pastor L J Jennings; Center of Hope Community Church, Pastors Brondon and Maria Reems; Operation Hope Now; Home of Chicken and Waffles; Rev. Greg Brown; and Bread of Life Ministries.
Turkey, dressing, mac and cheese, green beans, cranberry sauce and red velvet cake were all served, and prayer was given. This act of compassion and love could not have been possible without the combined vision of Bishop Reems, Pastor Brondon Reems, Chief Johnson and Ashantaki Collins who is Director of the Juvenile Hall Ministry.  Especially important is the  support of Annie Mitchell Bishop, John Bishop, Minister Shirley Baker and Minister Valerie Williams.
“Academy of da Corner Reader’s Theatre” also performed this year at Juvenile Hall. Poets Toya Carter and Aries Jordan along with Nefertiti Jackmon, daughter of Marvin X, spoke to the youth offering words of encouragement.  Marvin X, Toya Carter and Aries Jordan gave out books to the incarcerated youth, then talked with them one on one and even prayed with them at their request. Toya Carter and Aries Jordan have published beautiful poems that inspire hope and illustrate the trials and tribulations of today’s youth.
Christmas Brunch will be served on Christmas Day at The Home of Chicken and Waffles, 444 Embarcadero W, Oakland, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.. Food donations can be dropped off at the restaurant on Saturday from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday after 9 a.m. If you are interested in volunteering and for more information, please contact Ashastaki Collins at
For more information about the poets contact Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley. CA 94702. During January and February, Black Bird Press Publishing House will display the archives of Marvin X, one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement. Call 510-575-2225. Visit

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