Speakers Tuesday evening at the East Oakland Congress of Neighborhoods rally at Oakland City Hall included: (L to R): Mercedes De la Torre of Communities for a Better Environment, Andre Spearman of Oakland Community Organizations and Vernetta Woods, Oakland Community Organizations Photo by Ken Epstein.
East Oakland residents gathered in front of City Hall last week to unveil a community-created East Oakland People’s Agenda.
The agenda, based on community needs, was created Sept. 30 at a Community Assembly of the newly-formed East Oakland Congress of Neighborhood, attended by Oakland residents who live in communities between Lake Merritt and the San Leandro border
The release of the agenda on Tuesday, Nov. 7 was intentional—one year ahead of the 2018 elections— announcing residents’ determination to vote for candidates and ballot measures that align with their agenda.
“We are inspired by the hundreds of East Oaklanders who made our Community Assembly such a fantastic success,” says Sonya Khvann, an EBAYC leader and resident of District 2. “We are ready to fight for the agenda that we created there.”
The East Oakland Congress of Neighborhoods is an umbrella organization made up of six of East Oakland’s most prominent community organizations, whose members are fed up with a lack of action on extremely pressing problems in East Oakland—including housing and homelessness, immigration raids, illegal dumping, gun violence and the street-level sex trade, air quality and the lack of green space, school quality and safety, and good jobs.
Beginning in January, members of the Congress of Neighborhoods will start a process of research and trainings to prepare residents to advocate effectively for the People’s Agenda.
Evangelina Lara, EBAYC organizer and District 2 resident, says the purpose of the Congress is to provide East Oakland with the same kind of clout that more affluent neighborhoods have. “We represent the East Oakland majority,” said Lara. “Politicians are on notice that they need to respond to our agenda.”
“Residents from all four East Oakland City Council Districts came together to create this agenda,” says Alba Hernandez, an OCO organizer and a District 6 resident. “Our members are working together to make it come true.”