Rashidah Grinage is stepping down after seven years as executive director of People United for a Better Life in Oakland (PUEBLO) in order to focus full time on PUEBLO’s campaign to “establish “effective and independent oversight of police in Oakland.”
“Wewill have been working on this for 20 years already, and we will not relent, and we will not be deterred,” said Grinage, speaking at PUEBLO’s 25th anniversary celebration in Oakland last Saturday.
With a national spotlight on the lack of police accountability she said, now is a good time to redouble efforts to establish civilian oversight of police and “promote restorative justice alternatives to the criminal justice/law enforcement practices of arrest and incarceration – especially for juvenile offenders.”
Replacing Grinage as executive director is John Yuasa, a graduate of Hasting College of Law and former executive director of Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation.
City Councilmember Noel Gallo was honored at the Saturday night event for his community leadership. He was recognized for his years as a school board member who improved educational opportunities for children and his courageous support as chair of the city council’s Public Safety Committee for a community-based police reform initiative.
While PUEBLO is most known for its work on Oakland-related issues, the anniversary celebration recognized a number the group’s other programs.
Cocina de PUEBLO teaches young people how to plan and prepare delicious, health, culturally appropriate meals using fresh, affordable ingredients. The 16-week, hands-on program teaches safe food preparation, healthy menu planning, food sources, nutrition, and marketing and promotion.
The K-5 Garden Education project at Madison Park Academy takes all of the school’s 300 students on weekly visits to an outdoor garden classroom to study science and nutrition, maintaining a garden and managing food scrap composting.
The Balancing the Inner Outer Reentry, headed by Isaac Taggart, serves Black and Latino men who live in Oakland, ages 19 and older, who were formerly incarcerated at Santa Rita jail or San Quentin Prison.
“We recruit them while they are incarcerated, one to three months pre-release,” said Taggart. “They will get case management services and assistance in developing their transitional plan in preparation for being released.”
Post-release clients will participate in restorative justice healing circles and have a mentor, as well as help in implementing an employment and educational plan, he said.