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Can Ceasefire end youth violence in Oakland?

October 19, 2011

By Callie Shanafelt

Ceasefire programs to end youth violence started in Boston in the 1990s. The subsequent drop in youth homicide was called the “Boston Miracle.” Can a similar program work in Oakland? David Kennedy, creator of Ceasefire, considered that question at recent talk at Oakland’s First Unitarian Church.

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Cycles of Addiction in ‘City of Dope’

October 8, 2010

“Addiction? Truthfully, I’ve become numb to it,” says Safiya, 23-year-old West Oakland resident who was also born here. “It’s everywhere; it’s part of life. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I feel like there’s nothing I can really do about it. So, I’m really just numb to it.” The disease of addiction is at the intersection of virtually every major crisis in West Oakland. Violence, poverty and marginalization are often issues that crisscross and overlap with the epidemic of addiction to substances including alcohol, heroin and, most of all, crack cocaine. In 1988, Too $hort (Oakland’s unofficial rap historian) called his hometown the “City of Dope,” and the nickname has stuck ever since. Xan West gives her thoughts in this post at Our State of Health.

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Oakland high schools showcase student work on big issues

May 21, 2010

Oakland Unified School District’s Excel and Mandela high schools have found the right formula to keep students engaged and invested in educations – and they are sharing it with the public. With a focus on public service, Excel High School’s senior class recently stood before the student community and the public and discussed, presented the facts and defended their dissertations on varied topics. Some of these included teen pregnancy, homelessness, the affects of drugs and alcohol on families, single-parent households, literacy and even police violence.

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A plea for change

February 17, 2010

Wesley Sims, and Oakland high school senior and student rep on the school board, recently issued an impassioned plea to the adults in his community to quit fighting among themselves and do something to improve education in the troubled district. Sims has a 4.4 GPA but he says he still may have to take remedial classes when he gets to college next year. Watch a video of his comments to the school board.

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Something in the air

January 20, 2010

Ryan Nicole Peters is an Oakland spoken-word artist, youth counselor and aspiring politician. An idealistic young woman who wants to be a politician in these cynical times? Find out why in this video profile by HealthyCal contributor Martin Ricard.

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