As the leader of an organization dedicated to the empowerment of our youth, I feel the need to respond to our recent election, and the fear and uncertainty it has instilled in the children we strive to support, love and nurture. Oakland Leaf stands in stark opposition to the bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia promoted during the campaign. While the future is unknown, the present is not; today is a day for doing. As empathetic and caring human beings, today is important.
We work with wonderful people -- people of color, undocumented immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ communities, women, Muslims, people with disabilities, and with disenfranchised people throughout Oakland. We work for our community, and that will not change.
But today, I want to emphasize the youth -- those without the power to vote, yet those profoundly impacted by our political decisions. Yesterday we held community circles where students were empowered to voice their fears, concerns, and beliefs -- to express love, hope, and their vision for a more just society. It is important to listen.
Oakland Leaf is guided by: Voice, Community, Cultivation, Critical Thought, and most of all Love. We offer these values to inspire you to take action in support of our youth and communities.
Voice: Our beliefs matter, so fight to empower everyone’s voice, and stand up against injustices, big and small.
Community: Unite, empathize, and work to create a peaceful, inclusive, and just future for our children.
Cultivate: Develop our youth to be the next generation of leaders who stand up to the struggles and injustices in their community.
Think Critically: Reflect and learn how you can be a part of positive impact and change in our country.
Love: Show love in everything you do -- not only with friends and family but with strangers and those who don’t share your same beliefs.
As supporters of this organization, I know each of you hope for a better future for our children, families and loved ones. Now, more than ever, we need to unite and drive out the fear and intimidation gripping our society.
To quote Kamala Harris, California State Senator:
“It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant. Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.”
In community, and with love,
Executive Director of Oakland Leaf