From an Oakland Gala

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise and Keep Oakland Housed on Friday, January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theater.

Here is the photo gallery; it might be best viewed in slideshow format.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

I have been photographing Mayor Schaaf since she ran for Oakland City Council. After she became mayor, I photographed her first inauguration and celebrations.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

In November 2015, when Libby celebrated her 50th with a fundraiser gala, I photographed that event too.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

The Bay Area is fortunate to have innovative committed leaders. We are also fortunate to have artists who are committed to changing how we see the world, including Bandaloop. Bandaloop is a group of dancers who dance through the sky.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

I met Sara Agah Franti and Michael Franti at the gala. They are two more Bay Area artists who help us see and hear the world differently. Michael Franti is a popular musician. Together they have created a non-profit called Do It for the Love.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

The Oakland Promise is still new, but it could change lives for generations. It connects many different programs and organizations to the people who need the services. If government did this more often, people would trust government more and become more upset when government shuts down.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

There was an auction; it was fun and fast.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

The gala was fashionable and friendly.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

Today, the Oakland Promise feels shiny and new, but this is the last season that the Golden State Warriors play their home games in The Town. Many local non-profits have benefited from the Warriors recent success. I wonder if local organizations will lose money when we lose our teams. Will we start bidding more on Oakland A’s tickets?

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

For me, the most important moment of the night occurred when Oakland’s Fantastic Negrito played one song at the end of the gala. (I think that he performed “A Letter To Fear.”) Until that moment, I celebrated my own participation a little too much. (Sometimes when I take photographs, I believe that my photographs will solve problems.) During the gala, I needed to move my car. When I walked back to the theater, I ignored several homeless people. When a couple people asked me for spare change, I found their request inconsiderate. Couldn’t they see that I was in a hurry to volunteer at a benefit for homeless people?

Perhaps because I am writing this post on MLK’s birthday, I was already thinking about Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Fantastic Negrito’s vocals and lyrics reached my soul in that way only Truth can. We have so much more work to do, and so much further to go. Sometimes, we just need to be nudged in the right direction.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

I was still considering Fantastic Negrito’s performance when I walked into State Senator Nance Skinner. I had missed photographing her at a recent event, so I was grateful to talk to her and take a few photos before walking back to my car. Skinner has quietly become an effective state legislator.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

P.S. Early this morning, another Bay Area politician declared her candidacy for Presidency. In other parts of the country, it might be more than a post script. Here, we expect action.

NOTE: it’s the next day and I thought of an additional postscript. I don’t think that the former prosecutor needs my advice; however, it’s not enough to “follow the money.” In the digital age, you must Follow the Photos.

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