Community Relations Blog

Check Your Shelf Podcast: Other Duties As Assigned

Made possible by a Friends of the Oakland Public Library mini-grant, Check Your Shelf: The Oakland Public Library Podcast, invites listeners to take an inside look at OPL. Community Relations Librarian Amy Martin brings you inside the walls to get to know Your Library. The first season will feature six episodes diving into the different places, programs, and initiatives that make OPL truly special.

Listen on:

Anchor Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Breaker Overcast Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | RSS Feed

Episode 4: Other Duties As Assigned - Notes

Many OPL staff have been serving as Disaster Services Workers since early May during the public health crisis. During times of emergency, City of Oakland employees can be assigned to support the crisis response - often performing tasks they normally don't do. In this episode, we talk to six OPL staff about their Disaster Service Work assignments: handing out food, calling seniors, supporting COVID-19 testing, and more. 

Food Distribution at Oakland Public Libraries


Testing Sites

Services for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Library Staff Featured in this Episode

Jamie Turbak, Director, Oakland Public Library
Pete Villaseñor, Manager, César E. Chávez Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Sabah Abdulla, Library Assistant, Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Brian Guenther, Manager, 81st Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Sandra Toscano, Manager, Brookfield Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Larry Whitaker, Library Aide, Elmhurst Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Claudia Barrientos, Library Aide, Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch of the Oakland Public Library

Understanding Your City’s Budget

Do you ever wonder where the City of Oakland gets its revenue? Do you want to find out about proposed budget cuts to city services and departments? Are you interested in finding out how much each city department is allocated?

A great place to look is the City budget! Download and read Oakland’s Adopted 2019-2021 Policy Budget

The City’s Budget Bureau generates a Biennial Proposed Budget and an Adopted Budget for Oakland to determine how best to spend its resources for the community. The budget includes allocations for youth programs, services for homeless, funding for various city departments such as parks, transportation, police, fire, libraries, and much more. Every other year, between January and June, the biennial proposed city budget is developed, deliberated, and approved. At the end of June, this proposed midcycle budget must be voted on (as outlined in Oakland’s city charter). Creating a balanced budget is done over three phases. First—Development of a five-year forecast is sent to the City’s Finance Committee and the Mayor addresses community questions and concerns. Second—Deliberation, in this phase a proposed two-year budget is released for review to be considered by City Council. Third—Approval, in June, council will present amendments to the proposed budget for final approval by June 30th.

Oakland’s proposed midcycle budget for 2020-2021 can also be viewed online at the city’s website. The Proposed Midcycle Budget identifies factors that may affect future city revenues, expenditures, and staffing. As cities everywhere face cuts due to reduced revenue stream in the midst of COVID-19, this document provides citizens a chance to view the city’s spending and proposed adjustments. For instance, do you ever wonder where the city gets its money? See below for projected loss revenues:


The largest dips in revenue are projected to be from Business License Tax, and Transient Occupant Tax (TOT), (Oakland’s proposed midcycle budget, pages 13-14). These tables also break out the revenues from other taxes such as Parking Tax, Real Estate Transfer Tax, Sales Tax, etc. Due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, Table 4 below outlines a more severe projection of economic 

In addition to revenues, city budgets contain lots of valuable information on city demographics and economics, as well as statistics and surveys. These reports contain information on capital improvements, service impacts, taxes, measures and bonds, allocations for employee salaries and pensions, as well as, hiring and staffing changes. The city budget also outlines individual department goals, services, and spending.

 Below is a breakdown of all funds by department:

Interested in local politics and want to understand more about your city’s spending? Local government documents are an excellent resource. As a designated Federal Depository Library for US Government Documents, the Oakland Public Library houses a collection of State, Federal and local government documents, including past and current city budgets.  If you’d like to know more about our government documents collection, please check our catalog for recent added items and online resources. Have a reference question? Email Current city budget documents are made available online through the city’s Budget Bureau.

For questions or concerns regarding city spending and the budget contact Mayor Schaaf, or your City Council member


Meet the Six Amazing 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists!

The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program is an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and connect young writers to far-reaching opportunities. Each year we accept submissions from talented Oakland writers (ages 13-18) to be considered for the city’s top literary honor. The Laureate earns an educational scholarship and embarks on a year of opportunities as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression.


It's been a strange year. In the midst of so much uncertainty and so much change, we are glad to be able to bring you, as we do each year, these amazing young poets. Art, poetry, and the voices of our young people matter, and Oakland is so lucky to have such incredible wealth of talent.

This year we have six wonderful Finalists. Live on Facebook, on Friday, June 5th, 2020, we shared performances from each of them and announced our new 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate.  If you missed it live, you can still watch it on YouTube or on Facebook.

Congratulations to 2020's Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Greer Nakadegawa-Lee and 2020's Vice Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Michelle Arango!

Follow along with their work this year at the end at the bottom of this page.

If you would like to book Greer or any of the other 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists, please do so here:

Oakland poets between the ages of 13 and 18 can join the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate community by applying with three poems in early 2021.

Get to know our new 2020 Youth Poet Laureate, Vice Youth Poet Laureate, and all of the Finalists here by checking out their insightful and thoughtful interviews and watching their incredible performance videos.  

First up, 14-year-old Hunter Jackson:

Hunter Jackson in conversation with Eleanor Wikstrom.

Hunter Jackson's performance video.

Meet 15-year-old Siara Edmond:

Siara Edmond in conversation with Lucy Flattery-Vickness.

Siara Edmond's performance video.

15-year old Greer Nakadegawa-Lee is next:

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee in conversation with Samuel Getachew.

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee's performance video.

Chiana Griswa is 16 years old and our next Finalist:

Chiana Griswa, in conversation with Shanga Labossiere.

Chiana Griswa's performance video.

Meet 17-year-old Michelle Arango:

Michelle Arango in conversation with Tova Ricardo.

Michelle Arango's performance video.

And, finally, here is Jordan Tisnado, who is 18 years old:

Jordan Tisnado in conversation with Steph Yun.

Jordan Tisnado's performance video.

2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Poets' Projects and Words

Listen to Greer Nakadegawa-Lee perform her poem, "2020", and find a printable version of her inspiring words.


 Check out our 2019 Finalists, including the 2019 Laureate and Vice Laureate, and see the work they've done here.

Check Your Shelf: the OPL Podcast, Episode 3: Your Library at Home

Made possible by a Friends of the Oakland Public Library mini-grant, Check Your Shelf: The Oakland Public Library Podcast, invites listeners to take an inside look at OPL. Community Relations Librarian Amy Martin brings you inside the walls to get to know the library as a friend. The first season will feature six episodes diving into the different places, programs, and initiatives that make OPL truly special.

Listen on:

Anchor Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Breaker Overcast Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | RSS Feed

Episode 3: "Your Library at Home" 

In this episode, we explore ways you can still access Your Library from home with your Oakland Public Library card. We touch base with various staff members to discover how they are continuing to serve Oaklanders while working from home. Learn how you can receive phone and email support, get a customized reading list from an OPL librarian, and learn how you can attend a storytime from the comfort of your own home.

Show Notes

Transcript coming soon.

Just for kids

(Mostly) for teens

Library staff featured in this episode:

Matt Berson, Public Information Officer, Oakland Public Library
Camille Peters, Electronic Resources Librarian, Oakland Public Library
Christy Thomas, Reference Librarian, Oakland Public Library - Main Library
Annabelle Blackman, Children's Librarian, Oakland Public Library - César E. Chávez Branch
Sharon McKellar, Teen Services Coordinator, Oakland Public Library

Great Movies for Earth Day (Stream Free with Library Card)

by Ashley Bonifacio, Teen Services Youth Development Librarian

Does the shelter in place order have you feeling somewhat isolated from the rest of the world?

Earth Day is on Wednesday, April 22nd. Celebrate the earth and increase your awareness on environmental issues by checking out these movies. These films are available to check out online through Kanopy and Hoopla.

Since you are unable to check out these movies from our locations, we have increased maximum checkouts on these platforms so you can enjoy our virtual libraries. You can check out 10 titles on Hoopla and 5 titles on Kanopy (per month)!

Whether you’re looking for a film that will transport you to some of the planet’s most beautiful places, an intimate encounter with nature’s majestic wildlife, or you want to learn more about the environmental issues at hand, this list has a little bit of everything.


Earth: A New Wild (2015)
Not Rated, 288 min (5 videos)
Fans of Planet Earth and Life will enjoy this five part PBS series, which documents the beauty of the planet’s wildest places and offers a visually stunning look its wildlife and people.

Learning to See : The World of Insects (2016)
Not Rated, 70 min
If bugs are your thing, journey into the forests of South America to discover some of the world’s most exotic insects.

If a Tree Falls (2011)
Not Rated, 1h 25min
This Oscar nominated documentary profiles the Earth’s Liberation Front, a radical environmental group whose extreme efforts led the FBI to label them the ‘number one domestic terrorist threat’.

2009, 1h 12min
Corporate power has strong stakes in most industries including farming and agriculture. This documentary discusses the issue of industrialized farming, the influence it has on what we buy and how we eat, and profiles the farmers trying to combat this with sustainable, organic practices.


More Than Honey (2012)
Not Rated, 1h 35min
Where did all the honeybees go? This documentary explores the extinction of honeybees and the effect their endangerment has on the environment and our economy. 

After the Spill (2015)
Not Rated, 1h 2min
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Lousiana coastline, the Gulf of Mexico suffered another ecological blow when BP’s Deep Horizon Oil Rig spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the water—permanently affecting 16,000 miles of coastal wildlife. This film follows the aftermath, five years after the spill.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) & An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)
PG, 1h 36 min & 1hr 38min
This academy award winning film and its sequel focuses on Al Gore’s convincing campaign against global warming and the call for immediate action to curb humanity’s destructive impact on the planet.


Blue Gold : World Water Wars (2008)
Not Rated, 1hr 30min
This film investigates the environmental implications caused by the privatization and commoditization of water and the strain on the planet’s supply.

Blackfish (2013)
PG-13, 1hr 23min
This Sundance nominated documentary explores the dichotomy of nature and the human world by examining the issue of raising orca whales in captivity for entertainment purposes. 

Crude: The Real Price of Oil (2009)
Not Rated, 1h 45min
Details the $27 billion legal case that 30,000 Ecuadorians brought against the Chevron Corporation in efforts to seek damages to their ancestral homeland.

Earth Day Electronic Resources for Teens and Others

By Ashley Bonifacio, Teen Services Youth Development Librarian

With the world at home sheltering in place, a correlation between the decrease in daily human activity and the environment has been a topic of interest in the media these last few weeks. Talks about the decrease in air pollution in countries with high carbon emissions like India, as well as sightings of rare wildlife in urban streets, has encouraged humanity to think about its impact on the natural world.

With Earth Day on Wednesday April 22nd, what better way to think about the Earth and the impact we have on the environment than to check out the electronic resources we have on the subject. Whether you are a passionate environmentalist or someone just wanting to learn a little more, these resources will help you find your voice on various environmental issues.

You can browse all our databases by typing the title into our catalog or by selecting “Online Research and Learning”, under “Online Services”

You'll need your library card to access most of them, but don't worry. If you don't have a card, or can't find your card, or forget your PIN, even while closed, we can help you out.  If you don't have a card, please complete an online application and email to set up your account or resolve any account issues.  You can also use that address to resolve any issues with your card if you do have one.

Not sure where you stand? Get a complete view of differing perspectives by visiting Gale’s in Context: Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints contains primary and secondary resources that range from viewpoint articles and topic interviews in addition to videos, podcasts, statistics and full-text magazine and news articles. This database is especially good if you are writing an opinion piece or position assignment for school.

Just by browsing the issues, you can see find many relevant topics including the Flint Water Crisis, Food Waste, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Green Cities, and so much more.

Similar to Opposing Viewpoints, Gale’s in Context: High School database is a great way to introduce yourself to the different resources available on environmental studies. The interface is very user-friendly where you can browse by issue or type an issue of interest in the search box. From there you can narrow down a subject further by selecting your content type.

Want to learn more about Earth Day and top environmental issues? Check out the World Environment Earth Day section in Newsbank: Hot Topics. Newsbank provides information on a variety of hot topic issues and also provides access to full-text articles from the Oakland Tribune. You can browse articles, videos and can also get connected to other reputable websites. Newsbank also gives you the flexibility to browse by subject so you can narrow down your search by location (if you’re interested in environmental issues by geography), specific environmental issues such as “global water shortages” and so on.

OPL also subscribes to various magazines that you can check out online on RB Digital. All you need is your library card number. ID (Ideas & Discoveries) Magazine is a science and nature magazine and May’s issue focuses on climate change. Check it out online by clicking here.

If you simply want to look at beautiful pictures and read some articles about the world and its wildlife, check out National Geographic’s magazine here.

Happy Earth Day!

The 2020 Teen Reading List is Here!

OPL's Teen Services department puts out an annual Teen Reading List of recommended Young Adult titles, and 2020's is here!

These are carefully curated and personally recommended titles from staff members.  The books on our list are available as eBooks you can read on your computer, phone, or table and/or audiobooks that you can download and listen to.  You can browse most of the full list on OverDrive. If a title you want to read or listen to is checked out and you can't wait, we've compiled the available ones on hoopla below.

If you haven't tried hoopla yet, the app is free, the library pays for the content, and your library card will get you 10 downloads per month. There's no wait list for items so you can read or listen to these right now.  All you need is your library card! 

If you don't have a library card, or you do, but it's not working for any reason, we can help you.  While the library is closed, please complete an online application and email to set up your account or resolve any account issues.

The full Teen Reading List has many more titles and the print copies will be available for check-out once Oakland Public Library locations are open to the public again. For now, please enjoy most of them on OverDrive and hoopla!


Brown Girl Ghosted by Mintie Das
As one of the few Indian-Americans on campus, Violet just wants to survive high school, not face her destiny as an Aiedeo, a powerful woman warrior.

Caster by Elsie Chapman
Invited to an underground magic tournament, Aza must now use illegal magic to save her family’s legacy and to solve her sister’s death.

Crier's War by Nina Varela
Sparks fly as the fire of rebellion rages around Crier, the robot in charge, and Ayla, who hates robots because they killed her family.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
In 1890 Atlanta, Jo Kuan, a 17-year-old Chinese-American hat maker, takes an opportunity to be heard, leading to unexpected challenges that uncover undesired truths.


Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan
Two boys are determined to solve the mystery of a resurgent serial killer. Terrifying and suspenseful, because you never know who to trust.

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
The sea has a big role in this novel with a queer, rebellious protagonist dealing with the dysfunction and the legend of her family.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
It's 1998 Brooklyn--Steph has been killed. His friends and sister take risks to make sure his tracks, beats, and name live on.

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
At Loveboat, a Taiwanese program Ever's parents enroll her in, adults turn a blind eye as students hang out and drink sake all summer.


The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Twin goddesses separated at birth must fulfill a prophecy to restore their broken world--but only at the cost of one of their lives.

The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Deaf teen Maya starts attending a hearing school. That won’t deter her dreams, though, not even when Beau learns ASL to speak with her.

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
1979, small-town Baja California. Viridiana takes a job for three rich Americans. When a suspicious death occurs, only Viridiana's wits can match their deceit.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Teen mom Emoni navigates parenting a toddler, a passion for cooking, and relationships, all while trying to finish high school on her own terms.

Wrath by K'wan
Abused by family and bullies, Jonas (“Wrath”) turns to the streets. When he finds love, he faces a tough question: Will love overpower money?



Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Life & Work by Victoria Ortiz
Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life, work, and passions are shared through narratives of especially intriguing court cases that she has argued or heard.

A Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib
Abdurraqib's poetry speaks to his felt conflict among the identities he carries. Haunting, heartbreaking, and, at times, funny, his voice is unique and urgent.

The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce, edited by Angie Manfredi
Thirty-three contributors, some quite well known, with diverse gender and racial identities, share their writing and art in this beautifully designed book celebrating fat bodies.

The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos
Eleven harrowing stories of teens from Central America who survived river rapids, extreme desert heat, icy holding cells, and missing parents to migrate to the U.S.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott & Harmony Becker
Actor George Takei recounts the injustice of being torn from his home and community during World War II--all because his family was Japanese-American.



The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin & Noah Hayes
As the new kid at college, Charlie makes connections--and might even find love--when she joins her school's mediocre basketball team.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki & Steve Pugh
Fifteen-year-old Harleen moves to Gotham City, makes new friends, and battles against evil forces that threaten her and her friends.

Middlewest, Book One by Skottie Young, Jorge Corona & Mike Huddleston
In a world that's slightly different from our own, Abel is on the run from his abusive father, with his talking fox in tow.

Check Your Shelf Podcast: "Hello, AAMLO"

Made possible by a Friends of the Oakland Public Library mini-grant, Check Your Shelf: The Oakland Public Library Podcast, invites listeners to take an inside look at OPL. Community Relations Librarian Amy Martin brings you inside the walls to get to know the library as a friend. The first season will feature six episodes diving into the different places, programs, and initiatives that make OPL truly special.

Listen on:

Anchor Spotify Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Breaker Overcast Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | RSS Feed

Episode 2: "Hello, AAMLO" Notes

Transcript coming soon.

The African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) is located at 659 14th Street in Oakland.

Audio recordings used in Episode 2. Recordings included in this episode are used with permission from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

A Mystery Reel of Film Arrives at AAMLO - photo essay featuring Sean Dickerson

AAMLO Collections Mentioned in Episode 2

And Some Fun Extras:

Library staff featured on this episode:

Bamidele Agbasegbe-Demerson, Chief Curator, African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO)
Marco Frazier, Library Assistant, African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO)
Sean Dickerson, Library and Archives Assistant, African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO)
Dorothy Lazard, Librarian, Oakland History Center at the Oakland Public Library


Episode 1: "Public Detectives" Notes

Click here for a transcript.

Dorothy Lazard, manager of the Oakland History Center, talks annexation and developing exhibits on Oakland history.

vintage ad, harbor with text oakland the city of opportunity

book cover dated 1902 text "oakland athens of the pacific"

Are you also in the throes of potty training? Here are the books and DVDs Mahasin Aleem recommends:

And finally, the red snapper recipe that made us cry. Thanks, Kirsten Baldock.

Until next month, we'll see you around the library!



Women's History Month

Girl Power Film Festival 2020Girl Power floral

Celebrate Women's History Month with a series of four films chronicling inspiring and trailblazing women!

  • 3/2 - What's Love Got to Do With It
    This autobiographical film is centered on the life of Tina Turner; her rise to fame and her fall from the idyllic American marriage.
  • 3/16 - Frida
    Salma Hayek stars as Mexican surrealist artist Frida Kahlo in this biopic, which chronicles her turbulent marriage to Diego Rivera, her political activism, and the severe pain she experienced following a bus accident.
  • 3/23 - On the Basis of Sex
    Future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg launches her career fighting for gender equality by proving discrimination "on the basis of sex" is unconstitutional.
  • 3/30 - Harriet
    The incredible true story of Harriet Tubman, and her quest to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Mondays in March @ Eastmont Branch
Keywords: adults, films, movies, East Oakland


Women Bike Book ClubBook cover for the "the Mechanical Horse"

Let's explore the history of women in American cycling with Margaret Guroff's The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American LifeLearn how "women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses—as well as their restricted gender roles—so they could ride. [...] Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle's story is really the story of a more mobile America—one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life."

Thursday, 3/5 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: bikes, The Mechanical Horse, book club, Women Bike Book Club, North Oakland



Intro to Female Persian PoetsPersian Poetry

To celebrate Women's History Month, and to expand answer that was asked in our first session on Persian Poets, what about Persian female poets? In this session female poets, female feminist poets, modern feminism, and ancient Persia will be discussed.

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-2:30pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch 
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Button and Bookmark Making for Women's History MonthWomen's History Month graphic

Come make bookmarks and buttons featuring important and inspiring women. Use our artwork or create your own tribute to the important women in your life!

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-4pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Black Women: Their Presence in the City of LightTomb of Josephine Baker

Journey with Oakland native Riki Stevenson, whose slide-illustrated presentation—Black Women: Their Presence in the City of Light—takes us across the landscapes of Paris, France. We explore places where African and African American females studied, created art, forged socio-political alliances, opened businesses, and at times made the famed City of Light their home. (This program is organized by Stevenson’s European-based company Black Paris Tours.)

Saturday, March 7 - 2pm-5pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black women, history, Black History, African American Women, African American history, culture, art, Paris, presentation, AAMLO

Women's History Trivia Nightvintage and outdated drawing of the female brain

Come test your trivia prowess and celebrate Women's History Month at a women's history-themed trivia night. Play solo or with a team. 6 people max per team. Eat snacks, learn, win prizes! Door at 5:30, trivia starts at 6pm. 

Tuesday, March 10 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: trivia, women's history, games, adults, teens, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the Yasmin! book series, & book giveawayBook cover for Yasmin! children

Come meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the popular Yasmin! series. Attendees will learn about the Yasmin! series in this fun, interactive presentation. Author, Saadia Faruqi, will also share her experiences growing up in Pakistan and talk about her journey as a writer. Pizza and refreshments will be served at 5:30. Presentation will begin at 6:00. FREE books will be signed and given away at the end of the presentation.  *Limited quantities of the books are available and are intended only for children in attendance at the program. One copy per child, please. First-come, first serve.  

Wednesday, March 11 - 5:30pm-7pm @ Main Library (Children's Room)
Keywords: children, kids, books, Pakistan, Yasmin!, food, free books, Children's books, family, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Race, Gender and Leadership with Shaana RahmanShifting Culture Conversation Series @ Main Library 

Shaana Rahman is a bicycle personal injury lawyer who runs her own firm, and is dedicated to tearing down barriers to women leading in business and succeeding in their careers. Hear Shaana's story and then join a guided discussion group on topics of race, gender, leadership in the workplace, and leadership in the bicycling movement. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 11 - 6pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Shifting Culture, series, bikes, bicycles, business, professional, leadership, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt


Women and the Art of Meditationgraphic of dark head profile outline with a tree and roots within it

Learn how to rejuvenate yourself in our workshop, Women and the Art of Meditation. Part of AAMLO’s ongoing Festival of Knowledge, the session conducted by Josie Santiago focuses on “chair” yoga, relaxation techniques, aromatherapy, stress free music, and more.

Saturday, March 14 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: meditation, Festival of Knowledge, mindfulness, relaxation, health, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland


The Girls in the Bandvintage black & white photograph of Black women with instruments

When the world told them they couldn't play, they did it anyway! They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 1920s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continue today to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. This 2013 documentary is 88 minutes long. 

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: music, history, music history, women's history, Black history, African American history, arts, culture, jazz, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville, South Berkeley

Shirley Chisolm: Unbought and Unbossed Film Screening

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this Peabody Award-winning documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Official Selection at the Sundance International Film Festival and the SXSW Film Festival"A refreshing antidote to the opportunism and cynicism that rules the political roost inspiring tale of someone who made a difference." - James Greenberg, Hollywood Reporter

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-8pm @ Temescal Branch
Keywords: women's history, Black history, African American history, American politics, Black politicans, Women Politicians, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville

Documentary Film Series: She's Beautiful When She's AngryFilm poster for "She's Beautiful When She's Angry"

Join us at the Dimond Branch for a series of documentary films on Wednesday evenings. Snacks will be provided and a brief discussion will follow each film. March's film is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a documentary about the birth of the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1960's.

Wednesday, March 18 - 6pm-8pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: women's history, Women's Liberation Movement, 1960s, documentary, feminism, films, Dimond District, Fruitvale, East Oakland

In Praise of Our Mothers and GrandmothersBlack Female Project poster

Join AAMLO for a community discussion, In Praise of Our Mothers and Grandmothersorganized by BlackFemaleProjectThe discussion will include topics such as: kinship roles, mentorship, workplace dynamics, and community leadership. 

Saturday, March 21 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black Female Project, mothers, grandmothers, community, leadership, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland


Women's History Month Film: A League of their OwnA League of their Own movie poster

Come celebrate Women's History month with us by watching the true story of two sisters who join the first female professional baseball league. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 21 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: movie, true stories, sports, baseball, women's baseball, film, women's history, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake






Lunch Hour with the DivasMaya Angelou receiving medal of honor from ex-President Obama

Take a break for Lunch Hour with the Divas. Selected documentary film screenings explore Black women in the arts and the struggle for freedom. 

  • Monday 3/23 & Tuesday 3/24 - Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
  • Wednesday 3/25 & Thursday 3/26: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice 

Monday, March 23 - Thursday, March 26  @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: movies, documentaries, Civil Rights, films, lunch time, AAMLO




Trailblazing Journalist Delilah Beasley & California's African American Historyblack & white portrait of Delilah Beasley

Join Liam O’Donoghue, host and producer of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, as he interviews writers Dana Johnson and Ana Cecilia Alvarez, authors of the new book, “Trailblazer : Delilah Beasley’s California.” Dana Johnson is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and author of the short story collection, "In the Not Quite Dark." Ana Cecilia Alvarez is a professor at California Institute of the Arts and serves as the Development and Communications Manager at Clockshop, a Los Angeles-based arts collective.

Tuesday, March 24 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Delilah Beasley, East Bay Yesterday, East Bay history, Black history, women's history, African American history,Dana Johnson, Ana Cecilia Alvarez, journalism


Women's History Month Craftdrawing of Mae Jemison, first black woman in space

Create your own refrigerator magnets featuring famous women from history! Best for ages 3 and up.

Wednesday, March 25 - 3:30pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: crafts, DIY, arts, creative, programs, Dimond, East Oakland, Fruitvale


Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Intersectional Issues in Biking With Childrentwo young children pose in front of a bike

Parents are uniquely focused on the next generation. A panel of parents will explore the intersectional issues faced by people biking with children or while pregnant. Then we'll engage in discussion that turns to these leaders for safer streets and more people-focused infrastructure. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 25 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: intersectional, bikes, cycling, bicycles, biking, children, pregnancy, motherhood, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human BeingBook cover for "Before I Was a Critic I was a Human Being"

Join us in March for our monthly book club featuring titles from Small Press Distribution. Pick up a free copy of our March book at the February Book Club meeting (2/26), or at the Main Library Reference desk starting on February 27 while supplies last. MARCH’S BOOK CLUB PICK: Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being by Amy Fung. Literary Nonfiction. Asian & Asian American Studies. Native American Studies. Women's Studies. BEFORE I WAS A CRITIC I WAS A HUMAN BEING is the debut collection of essays by Amy Fung. In it, Fung takes a closer examination at Canada's mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity through the lens of a national art critic. Following the tangents of a foreign-born perspective and the complexities and complicities in participating in ongoing acts of colonial violence, the book as a whole takes the form of a very long land acknowledgment. Taken individually, each piece roots itself in the learning and unlearning process of a first-generation settler immigrant as she unfurls each region's sense of place and identity. 

Wednesday, March 25 - 5pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Amy Fung, Small Press Distribution, books, Asian studies, Native studies, women's studies, conversation, book club, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Berkeley Rep Talk: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girlsstill image from School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls play

By Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Main Season · Roda Theatre
March 19–May 3, 2020

“Modeling. That’s the plan after I graduate you know. Become the next Iman. College is cute, but I’m thinking about my future realistically.” Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant and the glamorous life that’s sure to follow. But her plans and even her very reputation are shaken up when Ericka, a new student who’s strikingly beautiful and talented, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. Winner of the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play is a biting comedy that tackles the universal issues of beauty and self-worth that face teenage girls across the globe.

Saturday, March 28 - 1pm-2pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch
Keywords: Berkeley Rep, School Girls, plays, Ghana, African, Piedmont, Emeryville, North Oakland



Women's History Month Film: Queen of Katwe Queen of Katwe film poster

Come celebrate Women's History Month with us by watching the incredible true story of a Ugandan girl who sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess in the Queen of Katwe. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 28 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: Queen of Katwe, true stories, chess, movies, films, Uganda, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake



Celebrate Black History Month at Your Library!

This Black History Month, Your Library is hosting a series of events to help you Explore, Connect, and Grow!

From storytime to crafts to historial lectures, we've got something for you and your loved ones. All our events are free and open to the public. 

Check out all our events. 

Questions? Contact us.


Saturday Children’s Story Hourcover for "Freedom on the Menu" book by Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford in Freedom on the Menu, recalls the bravery of four young African American students at North Carolina A&T College in Greensboro. They sat down at a “whites only” lunch counter on February 1, 1960 and requested to be served. Their bold action ignited a protest movement across the country to end racially segregated public eating facilities.

Saturday, February1 - 11am-12pm
African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: storytime, story hour, children, kids, parents, caregivers, civil rights, 1960s, segregation, AAMLO, American history, Black history, African American history, Black authors



30th Annual African American Poets & Their Poetry Celebrationpoet Phyllis Wheatly black & white illustration

Please join us for the 30th Annual Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry. This year's theme (in accordance with theme of the Association of the Study of African American Life and History) is 400 Years of African American History. We also want to include and highlight this year the contributions of American born Africans in California like Ms. Delilah Beasley, journalist and author of the essay Slavery in CaliforniaCommunity members of all ages are invited to participate by reading poetry, performing, dancing, or/and displaying works of art. If you're interested in being featured in this program, please call 510-238-7352. For those interested in the featured program please send work for consideration by 1/24/20 to the West Oakland Branch Library. There will be a rehearsal on 1/25/20 10am - 12pm. You can also sign up for the open mic at the program. We are also encouraging Poetry Celebration veterans and new participants to contribute to the 30th Anniversary Anthology. Deadline is February 1st. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, February 1 - 1pm-4pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: African American poets, Black poets, African American history, Black history, BHM, American History, literature, poetry, all ages, art, culture, family, learning, West Oakland, open mic



Anti-Displacement and Art Workshop // Taller de Arte y Anti-Desplazamientoold map of Oakland, CA

What makes a neighborhood and how can we shape it? Join us for an afternoon of neighborhood history and zine making focused on anti-gentrification. Taught by local educator Ken Eby-Gomez. Free, ages 12 to 20. In collaboration with Self Help Graphics & Art and The California Endowment

Saturday, February 1 - 1pm-5pm @ César E. Chávez Branch
Keywords: Fruitvale, gentrification, Oakland history, crafts, teens, young adults, youth



African American Quest for the Right to Voteheadshot of Oscar C. Wright, retired Oakland educator

Learn about the African American Quest for the Right to Vote from the perspective of retired Oakland educator Oscar C. Wright. A nonagenarian, Wright also shares insights about the profound social changes resulting from the modern day Civil Rights Movement.

Saturday, February 1 - 2pm-4pm African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: AAMLO, Civil Rights Movement, American history, Black history, African American history, voting, social history, social movements




RJOY Elder CircleLakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library near Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Elder circle is a weekly gathering for community members to share wisdom in a restorative space. Elder's Circles are an embodied experience that can feature anything from deep breathing and music to movement and the infusion of African Spirituality through ritual.

Mondays - 1pm-2pm Lakeview Branch
Keywords: elders, restorative justice, restorative practice, Lake Merritt, African Spirituality, seniors



House of Samba KidsSamba dance class for children featuring Master Percussionist James Henry

Master percussionist James Henry will delight all with his music. Join us for a fun-filled musical event.

Monday, February 3 - 1pm Eastmont Branch
Tuesday, February 4 - 11:30am @ Main Library
Thursday, February 13 - 10 am @ West Oakland Branch
Saturday, February 15 - 2pm @ César E. Chávez Branch
Keywords: East Oakland, Eastmont, Lake Merritt, Downtoan Oakland, West Oakland, Fruitvale, Samba, Samba Kids, percussion, culture, music, James Henry, kids, children, family, caregivers, caretakers



The African-American Multimedia Conference logoAfrican-American Multimedia Conference Presents: Self-Publishing Workshops

Join writer or organizer of the African-American Multimedia Conference Sumiko Saulson for a three-part series on self-publishing:

  1. Finishing Your Manuscript
  2. Preparing Book Interiors
  3. Exteriors, Covers and Ads

Monday, February 3, 10, 24 - 5pm-7pm Eastmont Branch
Keywords: East Oakland, Eastmont, Black authors, African American authors, writing, writers, self-publishing, workshop, adults, teens


Black History Read-In & Culture FestCalifa

Join OPL staff, community artists, and historians as we celebrate African American History Month with a day full of engaging, creative, multi-generational programming. All events are free and are wheechair accessible. Light refreshments will be served at 5pm. All events are free and open to the public! 

Tuesday, February 4 - 10:15am-7:30pm Main Library
Keywords: Lake Merritt, Downtown Oakland, culture, American history, Black History, African American history, art, history, family, kids, children, teens, adults, parents, caregivers, caretakers



African American Oakland, 1915-1965vintage black and white image of three Black men sitting in chairs

Oakland History Center librarian Dorothy Lazard will present a talk on the growth of Oakland’s African American community during a period of enormous change in the city. She will share stories of the political and cultural movers and shakers who helped establish Oakland as one of California’s most progressive cities. A slide show will accompany this presentation.

Wednesday, February 5 - 6pm-7:30pm Main Library
Keywords: Lake Merritt, Downtown Oakland, culture, American history, Black History, African American history, Oakland history, Oakland History Center





Documentary Film Series: Chisholm 72: Unbought and Unbossed Unbought and Unbossed

Join us at the Dimond Branch for a series of documentary films on Wednesday evenings. Snacks will be provided and a brief discussion will follow each film. February's film is Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed, a documentary about Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and her 1972 campaign for the the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Wednesday, February 5 - 6pm-8pm Dimond Branch
Keywords: Dimond district, politics, Shirley Chisholm, films, documentaries, Fruitvale





Art Talk - Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983painting by Barbara Jones-Hogu

This Art Talk brings the de Young museum's exhibit Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983 to you! The internationally acclaimed exhibition, organized by Tate Modern, celebrates art made by Black artists during two pivotal decades when issues of race and identity dominated and defined both public and private discourse. The de Young’s exhibit includes a focus on Bay Area artists whose work promoted personal and cultural pride, collective solidarity and empowerment, and political and social activism. This multi-media presentation will delve into highlights of the show. You can visit the exhibit at the de Young for free on January 11 and February 8
Image: Barbara Jones-Hogu, "Unite" (detail), 1971. Screenprint. Estate of Barbara Jones-Hogu, Courtesy of Lusenhop Fine Art

Wednesday, February 5 - 6:30pm Rockridge Branch
Keywords: Rockridge, North Oakland, art, de Young, Black artists, art, culture, Bay Area history



Black Fright Flicksfilm poster for Blacula (1972)

African American actors, directors and screen writers have contributed to the American Horror Film genre for decades. This month join us as we enjoy some classics (and cult classics) of Black horror films from the 1970s to the 2000s. 

  • February 6th: Blacula, 1972 (Rated PG)
  • February 13th: Tales From The Hood, 1995
  • February 20: Bones, 2001
  • February 27th: Vampire in Brooklyn, 1995

Please note: All movies shown are rated R (except Blacula). You are welcome to bring your own snacks and refreshments.

Thursday, February 6, 13, 20, 27 - 3:30pm Eastmont Branch
Keywords: films, American horror, cult classics, Black horror films, Eastmont, East Oakland, older teens, adults, teens



Black Panther Party Legacy Event: Honoring the Women of the BPPBlack Panter Party logo (black panther on the prowl)

With guest speakers, film screening and a Black Panther Party History Exhibit. Sponsored by the West Oakland Library and It's About Time Archives. For more information call 916-455-0908. 

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-4pm West Oakland Branch
Keywords: West Oakland, Black Panther Party, Black history, American history, film, conversation, women, Civil Rights, BPP




Who's Your Neighbor?: Creating Community at the Library, Family Drum Circle

Join us for the first program of a five part series called Who's Your Neighbor?: Creating Community at the Library. You'll learn a song, dance and drum rhythm during this afternoon drum circle led by Rosetta Saunders. Children 8 and older are welcome to join the circle. Rosetta Saunders, is a retired educator/historian having taught People of Colors history in the United States. She has studied West African and Afro-Cuban drumming for the past twenty years and is currently facilitating drum circles for health, healing and joy! This event is made possible by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-3:30pm Dimond Branch
Keywords: music, drum circle, adults, teens, youth, African Diaspora, FOPL




Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites During the Jim Crow Era African American Leisure Sites During the Jim Crow Era

Join our Meet the Author session to journey with historian and heritage conservation consultant Alison R. Jefferson, Ph.D., in a Powerpoint presentation based on her new book, Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era. A question and answer period, book signing, and light refreshments follow the presentation.

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-4pm African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Meet the Author, Black authors, American history, Black History, African American history, Jim Crow, AAMLO, Downtown Oakland



Make A Quilt Square - Celebrate Black History Monthclip are of a quilt in progress

Celebrate Black History Month by making a quilt square.  Community members may each contribute to our 2020 Community Quilt - squares will be sown together and then hung in the library.  Supplies provided.  For all ages. 
West Oakland - The African American Quilt Guild is hosting its Annual Demonstration and Workshop. Supplies will be provided so that you can make your own quilt. For all levels and ages!
Melrose - Community members may each contribute to our 2020 Community Quilt - squares will be sown together and then hung in the library

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-4pm Melrose Branch
Saturday, February 22 - 1pm-3pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: Black history, quilting, East Oakland, West Oakland, quilts, crafts, art, culture, all ages, DIY, maker, sewing



Golden Gate After Hours: Celebrating African American Neighborhood Historyvintage image of Ruth and Eugeme Lasatemay

Join us for a unique Thursday evening ‘after-hours’ at the Golden Gate Library! Enjoy a special presentation celebrating the seminal work of Ruth and Eugene Lasartemay, one of the founding families of the East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS). Did you know that the collections of this groundbreaking group were housed here at the Golden Gate Branch? These materials now live at AAMLO, where presenter, historian Susan Anderson, served as interim curator. Experience the Golden Gate Library Local Collection, a new place-based reference series, in specially designed reading chairs crafted from repurposed library furniture. Explore neighborhood stories in larger than life photo and text prints installed on library windows, hallways and even the elevator. Contribute your neighborhood memory to the project’s growing collection of community stories. Enjoy local music from the library's collection provided by Leo Mercer, organizer of  The MERCER BrotherhoodMeet your neighbors, learn about the community, and enjoy organic snacks by Phat Beets, North Oakland’s food justice organization. This special celebration is part of the library’s programming in honor of African American History month.

Thursday, February 13 - 6pm-7:30pm Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: Black history, African American history, North Oakland, Commons Archives, EBNHS, BHM, community





African American Read-In for FamiliesAfrican American Read-In logo

Come read books celebrating African American children and families as part of the National African American Read-In. Books will be on display for families to enjoy together, for ages 0-12. The National African American Read-In is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. More than 6 million people around the world have participated in the Read-In!

Saturday, February 15 - 10am-4pm West Oakland Branch
Keywords: Black history, African American history, children, kids, parents, caregivers, caretakers, diverse literature, literacy



Storyteller Kirk WallerStoryteller Kirk Waller holding a banjo by a large tree

Join us for storyteller Kirk Waller, who will be telling both well-known and unknown stories. You’ll love his engaging and musical storytelling style. This is an event the whole family will enjoy. Local storyteller Kirk Waller is winner of the National Storytelling Network's JJ Reneaux Emerging Artist Award, and winner of Parent's Choice Gold for his CD, "But Why?" His stories are also found on Amazon's "Story Party.”

Saturday, February 15 - 2pm Elmhurst Branch
Keywords: storytelling, kids, children, East Oakland, family, caregivers, caretakers, music, stories




African American Multimedia Conference: Panels, Workshop, and AwardsAfrican American Multimedia Conference logo

The event will include workshops and panel discussions related to African American media arts inclusive of video, music, audio, gaming, animation, vblogging and podcasting. Mission Statement: To ensure that both individual artists and community arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Black Community in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Vallejo and other cities are empowered with the tools they need to tell their stories, and that San Francisco Bay Area Black Voices not be silenced. To achieve this, we work to foster within our community the creation and exhibition of works, music, film, video, and digital arts conveying the African American personal and community experience. To encourage through training, consulting, and exhibition programs African American participation in multimedia: film/video, music/audio, and animation; create works in the media arts, and assist media artists with disabilities.

Saturday, February 15 - 2pm-5pm Melrose Branch
Keywords: Black creatives, African American arts, culture, workshops, panels, East Oakland, Melrose

Black History Cinema: Spider-man Into the Spider-Verse

Come to the Lakeview Library to watch Spiderman: Into the SpiderverseWe'll enjoy popcorn andscreenshot from the Spiderman Into the Spiderverse snacks.

Saturday, February 15 - 3pm-5pm Lakeview Branch
Keywords: kids, teens, children, Spiderman, movies, films, Lake Merritt





Negro League Baseball in the East BayTeam portrait of Berkeley-based California Eagles

The East Bay had a number of Negro League Baseball teams including the Oakland Larks and the Berkeley-based California Eagles. The Oakland History Center presents master storyteller Ben Tucker, a member of Stagebridge storytelling troupe, who will share exciting stories from the heyday of Negro League Baseball. Mr. Tucker will have copies of his sports memoir, A Good Run, on sale at this event.

Wednesday, February 19 - 6pm-7:30pm Main Library
Keywords: Oakland History Center, Oakland history, Negro League Baseball, Black history, sports, baseball, Berkeley, Ben Tucker, books, book talk, Black authors, BHM, sports history



Get Crafty with art inspired by Alma Thomas and Odili Donald Odita! Bright colorful circular art inspired by Alma Thomas and Odili Donald Odita

Join us for a crafty afternoon in the TeenZone!  We will be getting inspired by two African American artists and making our own art.  All materials provided.  For youth ages 12 to 18.

Thursday, February 20 - 3pm West Oakland Branch
Wednesday, February 26, 3pm @ Rockridge Branch
Keywords: crafts, art, DIY, teens, TeenZone, Black artists, African American artists, West Oakland, North Oakland, Rockridge



Black History Cinema: Harriet (2019) Film ScreeningFilm poster for Harriet

Come celebrate Black history month with us by watching the incredible true story of Harriet Tubman, and her quest to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share! Rated PG-13

Saturday, February 22 - 2:30pm Lakeview Branch
Keywords: Lake Merritt, films, movies, BHM, teens, adults, Harriet Tubman, Underground Railroad





We Keep Us Safe booktalk by author Zach Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human RightsBook cover for Zach Norris' "We Keep Us Safe"

We Keep Us Safe booktalk by author Zach Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. With introduction and discussion moderation by Rev. Celeste Frazier from East Bay Church of Religious Science A groundbreaking new vision for public safety that overturns more than 200 years of fear-based discrimination, othering, and punishment. As the effects of aggressive policing and mass incarceration harm historically marginalized communities and tear families apart, how do we define safety? In a time when the most powerful institutions in the United States are embracing the repressive and racist systems that keep many communities struggling and in fear, we need to reimagine what safety means. Community leader and lawyer Zach Norris lays out a radical way to shift the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In order to truly be safe, we are going to have to dismantle our mentality of Us vs. Them. By bridging the divides and building relationships with one another, we can dedicate ourselves to strategic, smart investments—meaning resources directed toward our stability and well-being, like healthcare and housing, education and living-wage jobs. This is where real safety begins. We Keep Us Safe is a blueprint of how to hold people accountable while still holding them in community. The result reinstates full humanity and agency for everyone who has been dehumanized and traumatized, so they can participate fully in life, in society, and in the fabric of our democracy.

Wednesday, February 26 - 6pm-8pm Temescal Branch
Keywords: Temescal, North Oakland, Ella Baker Center, Zach Norris, public safety, mass incarceration, community, book talk, Meet the Author




2020: Visions Toward Tomorrowvintage image of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland on 14th Street in Oakland, California

Join SAAMLO (Friends and Stewards of AAMLO) for 2020: Visions Toward Tomorrow. The evening—promoting the legacy of Black History 365 days a year—features spoken word artists, jazz musicians, community choirs, visual artists, and words of wisdom from Oakland’s community sages.

Saturday, February 29 - 5pm-8pm African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Temescal, North Oakland, Ella Baker Center, Zach Norris, public safety, mass incarceration, community, book talk, Meet the Author