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Burglary at Offices of OCCUR Longtime Community Organization

Reports from both organizations were filed with the Oakland Police Department, which is still investigating the crimes. “There was this moment of sheer disbelief,” said Alexander upon discovering the break-in. “And then a variety of emotions ranging from confusion, fear, and tremendous anger that our personal and professional spaces and property had been invaded and violated,” she said. “Why would anyone want to do this?”

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OCCUR’s Executive Director Sondra Alexander.
OCCUR’s Executive Director Sondra Alexander.

By Post Staff

For the first time in OCCUR’s 65 years in operation, its offices were burglarized on Wednesday March 23, 2022.

That morning Post News Group employee Brenda Hudson alerted OCCUR’s Executive Director Sondra Alexander that a burglary had taken place at the OCCUR office.

When Alexander arrived at the office, the floors, normally clutter-free, were strewn with paper. Her desk drawer and those of associates were pulled out, and their contents rifled through.

Besides OCCUR, the Post News Group offices, which are located in the same building were also burglarized and vandalized.

Reports from both organizations were filed with the Oakland Police Department, which is still investigating the crimes. “There was this moment of sheer disbelief,” said Alexander upon discovering the break-in. “And then a variety of emotions ranging from confusion, fear, and tremendous anger that our personal and professional spaces and property had been invaded and violated,” she said. “Why would anyone want to do this?”

OCCUR’s Enduring Relevance

Alexander’s questions are especially poignant in light of OCCUR’s objectives and relevance in Oakland for decades. Founded to provide economic opportunities for low-income people of color in Oakland, the organization has continuously implemented programs that have made profound enhancements to neighborhoods in most need.

The David E. Glover Emerging Technology Center located in East Oakland is a perfect example. The facility is an extensive technological training center for residents of all ages. Founded in 1987, the Center makes it possible for anyone seeking knowledge to be trained in computer skills and receive early-stage access to coding, artificial intelligence, programming, and other marketable skills.

It is crucial that Oakland’s most marginalized residents acquire these skills to compete and succeed.

“With the ramping up of our capacity-building programs, OCCUR is not letting the burglary derail us,” said Charla Montgomery, OCCUR’s program consultant. “Now more than ever, it is important that OCCUR reaches as many communities as possible and all those committed to positive change throughout the Bay Area.”

Despite Oakland’s ever-changing demographics, which is vividly apparent in dwindling Black residency and homeownership, school closures, and an unprecedented homelessness crisis OCCUR remains committed.

Organizational and neighborhood leaders across the city and the greater Bay Area know how vital OCCUR has been and continues to be for marginalized communities.

Whether it be the mini-grant program for Oakland small businesses, or the capacity building/development resources for nonprofits and faith-based organizations, OCCUR has been an ever-present stalwart supporter.

Today, Alexander and the entire OCCUR team are focusing on doing what they and their predecessors started 65 years ago: That is being a catalyst for bringing together neighborhood residents, merchants, and government to strengthen the economic development potential of emerging communities.

With the shock of the burglary also comes a determination to continue and to carry on and OCCUR looks forward to providing the crucial programs our community needs and deserves.

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Arts and Culture

Third Annual Town Up Tuesday Lifts Oakland’s Community, Culture and Joy

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging. It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.
The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

By Kyung Jin Lee

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging.

It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria.

Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

Past performers have included: Kamaiyah, Yukmouth, Stunnaman02, Symba, Lil Kayla, Grand Nationxl, Jane Handcock, and D Smoke, among others.

“Oakland is a historically Black city and one of the most diverse and progressive in the country — a city rich with culture,” said Nicole Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Movement.

“At a time when we are being scapegoated for political gain and negative narratives of Oakland permeate the press, we’re uplifting who we truly are and all the things that make this region so special.”

About Urban Peace Movement: Urban Peace Movement (UPM) is a racial justice organization working to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities in Oakland. https://urbanpeacemovement.org/ @urbanpeace510

Kyung Jin Lee is the media representative for the Urban Peace Movement.

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Bay Area

California Makes Strides in Fight Against Fentanyl

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

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In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

By California Black Media

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

“As we recognize the serious dangers of illegal fentanyl, California is continuing to tackle this issue head-on. Our efforts are getting this poison off our streets and out of our communities as we continue to support people struggling with substance use.” Newsom said.

CalGuard Major General Matthew Beevers said that the state’s unprecedented investment in the Counterdrug Task Force has immobilized operations and revenue channels of transnational criminal organizations.

“The CalGuard is committed to supporting our state, federal, local and tribal law enforcement partners to eliminate the scourge of fentanyl,” Beevers said.

In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

The Newsom administration has expanded efforts to improve public safety across the state where operations occurred in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Bakersfield.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed acknowledged that joint operation was a step in the right direction toward curbing illegal activity and improving public safety.

“Our coordinated work to shut down drug markets in San Francisco is making a difference, but we have more work to do,” Breed said.

“Together we are sending a message at all levels of government that anyone selling fentanyl in this city will be arrested and prosecuted,” she said.

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Alameda County

Community Rally Demands Supervisors Merge Recall with Regular Elections

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November. The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

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Special to The Post
Special to The Post

By Post Staff

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November.

The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

Stewart Chen, a member of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council, told the Post that he and many members of the community-based participants supported the decision made by the Supervisors.

Chen said, “The voters voting in a special election in September will likely vote the same way in the November election. An extra two months won’t change people’s minds, but it will result in significant savings for the county. During times of financial uncertainty, especially when the county healthcare system is facing a huge deficit, it is unnecessary to waste taxpayers’ money on a special election that can easily wait two months.”

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