Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project’s mission is to improve inner city life by challenging unhealthy community dynamics through urban farming and youth engagement. Acta Non Verba’s farm is located in Tassafaronga Park in East Oakland and is maintained by K-8 grade youth who earn money for their education by volunteering at the farm. The farm provides a safe haven for youth and community residents in an otherwise crime-ridden area. Acta Non Verba is currently installing a new garden outside the Oakland Public Library’s Main Branch Children’s Room and is maintaining gardens at two nearby elementary schools. They also conduct a summer camp and spring break mini-camp for neighborhood youth between the ages of 5 and 15, organize community events to encourage community participation in the farm, and conduct cooking classes to encourage community residents to eat healthier food.
Black Organizing Project is working to create strong, cohesive and engaged Black communities by effectively mobilizing low-income Black people to become leaders and to have an influential voice in decision-making. Their goal is for Black communities to have the resources and opportunities necessary for a healthy, safe and economically sustainable future. Black Organizing Project has reached out to 5,000 community members and has launched Better Our School Systems (BOSS), which organizes students, parents, and community members to work for restorative justice in the Oakland public schools and to stop the school-to-prison pipeline that shuttles Black students into the criminal justice system. They also work to end police violence against school children.
California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative is working to improve the health, safety, and rights of nail salon and cosmetology workers, owners and cosmetology students. Most of the workers in nail salons are low-income, Asian immigrant women who are of reproductive age, and are exposed to dangerous chemicals in the workplace. The Collaborative provides expertise, skills and resources to empower workers and owners to: advocate for healthy and green salons through regulation and policies that protect human health, hold manufacturers accountable for healthier alternatives, and create greater consumer awareness. The Collaborative hosts a Core Leader Program to develop the leadership capacity of nail salon workers and has successfully worked to pass the healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program ordinance in San Francisco, which provides city recognition to nail salons that use safer products and implement best workplace practices.
The California Indian Environmental Alliance is working to protect and restore California Indian Peoples’ cultural traditions, ancestral territories, and promote healthy subsistence lifestyles. CIEA is a Native-led environmental health organization that is addressing mining toxics remaining from the California Gold Rush. This toxic legacy continues to pose a threat to California tribal members who are at increased risk due to the importance of fish as a traditional subsistence food and as fundamental to their spiritual, ceremonial, and cultural identity. The California Indian Environmental Alliance runs a Mercury Tribal Health Program that empowers families to make healthy fish consumption choices and recently launched the “Making Healthy Fish Choices: WIC Curriculum & Program.” CIEA also runs advocacy and leadership programs for Tribal leadership and youth. Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice is a San Francisco-based multiracial grassroots organization working for health and environmental justice in low-income and working class urban, rural, and indigenous communities.
Greenaction works to mobilize and unite communities through a variety of techniques including education and empowerment, leadership development – particularly for youth and women, grassroots organizing, technical and media expertise, and coalition and movement building. Greenaction worked to close the PG&E Hunters Point power plant in San Francisco and is now focusing on forcing polluters and government agencies to safely cleanup contamination sites that threaten the health of local residents, including the AMCO Chemical Superfund site located next to homes and a children’s park in West Oakland.
Movement Generation is a Bay Area organization dedicated to equipping communities of color with the leadership tools necessary to transition to an equitable and sustainable future. Movement Generation provides trainings for grassroots organizations rooted in communities of color and helps them to develop strategic, cross-silo alliances with other groups around healthy communities, ecosystems and community resilience. Movement Generation has engaged with over 125 organizations through intensive retreats, workshops, strategy sessions, campaign development, alliance building, and communications trainings. Movement Generation is anchoring a national climate justice initiative with the aim of ending “extreme energy”, while creating resilient jobs and economies in communities with the greatest risk of adverse affects from climate change, including a pilot program in Richmond.
OneFam is a West Oakland organization dedicated to building community in West Oakland through civic engagement, promoting bicycling, and assisting formerly incarcerated and at-risk youth to become socially responsible individuals. OneFam operates a social enterprise and job-training program called Bikes4Life. At the bicycle store at-risk youth are trained on how to repair and refurbish donated bicycles, how to sell both used and new bicycles, and how to repair customers’ bicycles. Bikes4Life provides a free tool-lending library and workspace for neighborhood residents to repair their own bikes. Profits from the bike store are used to a support youth leadership program focused on social justice campaigns that have a direct connection to the lives of the young people in the program. OneFam has been at the forefront of social justice campaigns since its inception in 2008, including organizing for police accountability after the Oscar Grant tragedy. They recently started their “Free the Fee” campaign that aims to eliminate the $150 fee needed to expunge a person’s criminal record when they turn eighteen. OneFam annually organizes a Peace Ride, a culturally diverse critical mass bicycle ride that calls attention to street violence and attempts to reclaim public space in West Oakland.
People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER) is a San Francisco-based group that organizes Latino immigrant families and youth to achieve healthy and just neighborhoods and build local community and political power to achieve real systemic change. PODER organizes issue-based campaigns that nurture everyday individuals’ leadership capabilities, consequently empowering traditionally disenfranchised communities. Currently PODER is working to build healthy communities by involving community members in the planning process, creating community-based and worker-run cooperatives, working to safeguard immigrant rights, and promoting environmental health and justice. PODER encouraged the MTA to transfer land to the County of San Francisco for an affordable housing development. PODER conducted a weekly political education and skills building series for PODER members that covered topics ranging from urban planning and environmental health and justice to community based governance.