100 Black Men Charter School
African American boys in Oakland are more likely to miss school, be suspended, not graduate on time or be incarcerated than any other students. Since 2002, more African American men and boys across the city have been killed than have graduated from high school ready to attend a state college.
Against this backdrop of failure and death, school officials became the first in the nation to create a department with the sole focus of helping African American males while sponsoring a charter school specifically for black boys.
Brijjanna Price was 16-years-old when her 17-year-old brother Lamont Deshawn Price was killed on the streets in Oakland. Since then she has been in and out of foster care, lived with her father, given birth to a baby girl and moved in with the father of her child.
Questions ask to Briijanna a year after her brother was murdered.
How have things changed for you since Lamont was killed?
Well, for one, I had a little girl. Two, I came back to school and three I’m just trying to get my life right for him cause I know that’s what he would have wanted for his little sister.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
This time next year I want to be enrolled in some kind of college and have some kind of little part time job. Just to get me on my feet so I can get my apartment for me and my daughter. Then hope to get out of Oakland, California ‘cause there’s nothing out here for young youth, young black people. All it is is streets, jail, or the grave and I’m not trying to meet none of that. I’m trying to get me a career, set a life goal for my daughter. Trying to make sure my daughter don’t grow up like this. It’s the people you surround yourself with that’s going to make you who you really is. You surround yourself with a drug dealer your going to be a drug dealer. You surround yourself with dope fiends; you’re going to be a dope fiend. I don’t want to live out here.
Where do you hope to see your daughter at 16?
In school and trying to get her high school diploma - not like me. I had a lot of ups and downs. By the time I was pregnant with her, I wasn’t even in school. I had a lot going on and then my brother died. Then to find out I was pregnant on top of that - it was a lot of stress. It was just too much. But her -she’s going to be in school. She could be a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian - whatever she wants to be. I will encourage her.
Richmond Public Housing
The Richmond Housing Authority is running a nearly $7 million deficit and owes the feds $2.2 million for past contracting mistakes. The federal government is threatening to take control of the Housing Authority this year if key financial benchmarks are not met.
Geneva Eaton has learned to deal with life in Hacienda: the stench of mold from the stairwell in front of her door, the winter she spent huddled at her stove for heat, the broken security gate that allows drug dealers and squatters to walk past the paid security guards and urinate on her doorstep. But the mice were too much.
For eight months, the 73-year-old woke to handfuls of half-dead mice wriggling in the glue traps lining the floors and cupboard of her apartment. In the space of a few hours, she caught 12. She put her nicest family belongings into storage. She went to bed with the lights on, afraid that the vermin she heard chewing through her walls would bite her in her sleep.
Officials at the Richmond Housing Authority know the Hacienda high-rise, one of its five public housing projects, is infested with mice and roaches. Residents have filed more than 80 complaints about it in the past year, according to agency records. But maintenance workers have done little to fix the problem.
Too Young To Die
Killings in Oakland come twice a week on average.
In 2012, 131 people were victims of homicide, 14 did not reach their 19th birthday.
The numbers tell the simple story that children are being killed in the streets of Oakland.
Each time a child is killed, their names and ages are reported and added to the tally. Yet few outside the immediate circle ever see what the violent death of a child does to a community or family; the grief, regret and fear are felt hours, days, weeks and even years later.
I was given unprecedented access to the street memorials, the burials and the ripple effects that follow the violent deaths of Oakland teens, focusing in on the family of Lamont Price, who was murdered in February 2012.
In Oakland, youth live in a different world, one that assigns them to gangs by their address; where expensive shoes both buy prestige and mark kids as targets; where any kid could get hit by bullets just because.