“Imagine all the people living life in peace”
Yesterday, my son’s Spanish bilingual school, Melrose Leadership Academy, organized a march through our Maxwell Park neighborhood in Oakland, California.
The march had been planned before the recent tragedy in Oakland; however, our school community benefited from the supportive event. If you are avoiding news, Oakland has experienced the deadliest fire since 2003 in the United States. The Oakland Ghost Ship Fire was about two miles from MLA. National news outlets have asked questions about the fire that our community might not be prepared to ask. We needed a reason to gather.
I was also aware that the peace march was held on the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Some people might view these images and not find the march patriotic. I don’t. My son wanted to paint his face red, white and blue, because he sees America in his classmates and teachers.… Read the rest
When my 11 year old daughter began kindergarten at Melrose Leadership Academy, I had a simple idea. I thought I could photograph each kindergarten class as long as my children attended the school. I live in the neighborhood. How difficult could it be?
As I tell my photography students, simple and easy are not the same. “Simple” is difficult and my simple idea has become more difficult this year. I teach in a district an hour away from my home. We have the same breaks, so I don’t have a week to visit the school.
There is another complication. I try to create something different each year. MLA was at a different site the first three years, so those pictures all look different from the more recent images. Each year I wonder how I am going to create something interesting. Last year, I gave the kids magnifying glasses. This year, the students photographed me with my smartphone.… Read the rest
On Thursday March 5th, Melrose Leadership Academy held the first TK-5th Grade Choral Concert in Oakland, California. (You can view a photo gallery of The Choral Concert here.) Earlier this school year, MLA held its annual Dance-a-thon. (I have included dance-a-thon images at the bottom and a gallery here.) Since today is International Women’s Day and yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, I thought that I would revisit a quote painted on one of the murals where my two children attend school… the quote is about dancing across bridges.
Si no puedo bailar tu revolución no me interesa – Emma Goldman
Melrose Leadership Academy is a dual immersion public school in Oakland. (It is not a charter school.) The kids at MLA are smarter than I am. I can only speak English, and I often forget how to speak and write in my first (and only) language. When my daughter translated the Goldman quote into English for me, I understood that Goldman was advising advocates that social movements needed charisma.… Read the rest
A year ago today, I taught a photography workshop in San Francisco. The students practiced “getting closer.“ I encouraged participants to acknowledge discomfort and create support networks. As I wrote last year, “Photographers build bridges to people who are lonely,” but we often forget to build our own bridges.
Three months after the workshop, I photographed a neighborhook candlelight vigil. Our neighbor, Judy Salamon, had been shot and killed in the neighborhood. I rushed over to the vigil “to get closer.” Perhaps I believed that if I got close enough, I could help. Lately, I have been pulling back, because I lost my focus. I needed a bridge.
Yesterday, Oakland Police announced that two men were charged for murdering Salamon. According to several publications and interviews, OPD claim that Salamon filmed the two men after witnessing a crime. She was shot when she would not relinquish her phone.… Read the rest
Be careful what you wish for… it may come true.
On Thursday evening I was relaxing in my Maxwell Park home noticing the stillness. My life has been busy recently and I missed the excitement. About five minutes later, two neighbors walked past our house and mentioned a memorial service for a neighbor who had been shot a day earlier. I did not miss the excitement that much. (Photo Gallery Here)
I had been so busy with my own life, I was unaware that Judy Salamon had been shot. I had noticed the helicopters hovering over our neighborhood the day earlier, but I hoped that they were visiting for an afternoon traffic incident. Helicopters and homicides are too common in my neighborhood. It is easier to pray for bad traffic.
Perhaps I would have learned about the memorial online, but on Thursday, our internet modem broke, so I missed all the messages from our neighborhood listserv.… Read the rest
Yesterday was the “Seventh Annual Day in the Park” in our Oakland, California Maxwell Park neighborhood. The Day in the Park is the signature event for our neighborhood. The event is held at a little park with the same name as our neighborhood. There is also an old Maxwell Park Elementary School just down the street from the park. (When the school was built, the park did not exist.)
The event occurs on the second Saturday of September. One block is closed to traffic, except for the food vendors, musicians and community fire officials who bring plastic red hats.
This year, the event seemed especially important for the neighborhood and the organizers. We have amazing neighbors.
(Edited at 9:15 pm Sun 9/9/12) One of our neighbors who prefers not to be photographed, agreed to photograph me. I think she enjoyed taking pictures, and probably would make a good photographer.… Read the rest