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One Year in The Life Project Moves to The East Side for 2019

MICHIGAN CHRONICLE — Last year, One Year in The Life examined a wide range of topics involving Detroiters.



By Branden Hunter

The success of the partnership between the Michigan Chronicle and ARISE Detroit! to report about life in the neighborhoods on the west side of Detroit in 2018 has prompted the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund to renew funding for the project for  a second year.

Last year, One Year in The Life examined a wide range of topics involving Detroiters, including public safety, education, neighborhood dining and shopping, family traditions, urban gardening and community activism. This year some of the topics and others will be explored in the Eight Mile/Dequindre, Gratiot areas and the East Grand Boulevard/Jefferson/Chalmers areas on the city’s east side.

Once again, the One Year In The Life project will include a reporting and editing team comprised of residents of Detroit. Cassandra Spratling, a former Detroit Free Press reporter and editor, will once again be the project editor.

“We’re  excited to have another opportunity to take an up close and personal look at the lives of Detroiters,” said ARISE Detroit! executive director Luther Keith, a former newspaper editor. “The response we’ve gotten from the community tells us there is a huge appetite for the small stories about people’s lives that often get overlooked in coverage focused on big development projects and celebrities.”

The One Year in The Life Project is one of nine journalism projects, representing collaborations of 18 southeast Michigan Organizations, funded by the Journalism Engagement Fund, to ensure that local reporting includes the voices and concerns of community residents.

The Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

“To build an even stronger future for Detroit, we need to provide the people who live here with more pathways to voice their needs, highlight opportunities and shape their city. The Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund is helping to open these avenues by highlighting stories that often go untold and arming people with the tools they need to contribute,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit.

“The Ford Foundation is proud to continue its support for this critical initiative ensuring the voice of Detroiters is heard loud and clear as the city continues its impressive recovery and revitalization,” said Kevin Ryan, Ford Foundation, program officer, Cities and States. “It is an imperative to amplify the stories of the city’s residents so they don’t get lost amid shrinking newsrooms and resource.”

The One Year In The Life stories will be published in the Chronicle’s Neighbors Section, the second Wednesday of each month. The section was created for the One Year In the Life Project.

Do you have a newsworthy idea for an east side story for the Neighbors section? If so, email the One Year in the Life staff at

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle.

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Bay Area

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, Hayward

Saturday, June 19, 2021 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. at Hayward City Hall Plaza, 777 B Street, Hayward, Calif.



Juneteenth Flyer
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Ramachandran is the Only Candidate Who Lives in Oakland in the District 18 Assembly Race 

Oakland makes up 66% of Assembly District 18. Yet all the other major candidates live in Alameda or San Leandro. Our district has not had a representative from Oakland since the 1990s.



Janani Ramachandran

Note: Janani Ramachandran is a social justice attorney. She has the sole endorsement of organizations rooted in Oakland, including ILWU, Oakland East Bay Democratic Club, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club and Oakland Tenants Union. 

Oakland makes up 66% of Assembly District 18. Yet all the other major candidates live in Alameda or San Leandro. Our district has not had a representative from Oakland since the 1990s. Oakland deserves true representation in our Legislature, and here are some reasons why:

Howard Terminal

Look no further than the Howard Terminal to see the power that state legislation can have on local issues. Our most recent District 18 assembly member who lives in Alameda, facilitated the development of Howard Terminal by introducing AB 1191 and AB 734 – ultimately to benefit the billionaire Fisher family and their allies. By contrast, a legislator from Oakland would understand the disastrous consequences of the project for West Oakland residents, such as worsening air quality and stimulating rapid gentrification. 

A legislator from Oakland would also understand that such a project would threaten the job security of 85,000 workers at the Port of Oakland. As the only major candidate in this election publicly opposed to Howard Terminal, I promise to stand firmly by Oakland community groups in vocalizing my opposition to this project, and any others that prioritize billionaire interests over those of our neighbors.

OUSD Takeover

Oakland has been unable to run our own public schools since the deeply problematic state takeover of OUSD in 2003. This takeover, and the actions by the State-appointed administrator  in running up OUSD’s debt, led to the closure of many majority-Black public schools and the proliferation of charter schools (in fact, OUSD has the highest percentage of charter schools out of any school district in the state). 

Oakland deserves a legislator who will prioritize winning immediate return of full local control of our schools to our residents as soon as possible. It takes a genuine understanding of the hardship and trauma that the state takeover inflicted on our City to meaningfully fight for Oakland’s youth at the State Legislature – something that I unequivocally vow to do.

Tenant Protections

Tenants comprise over 60% of our city’s residents. Thanks to decades of local activism, Oakland has one of the strongest rent control ordinances in the state. However, our city’s hands are tied on many state laws that prevent tenants from being meaningfully protected. For example, the state law Costa Hawkins prevents Oakland from being able to expand rent control to units constructed after 1983 and to single-family homes. Having supported tenants facing eviction in Oakland in the course of my legal career – including during the pandemic –  I’m acutely aware of the need for stronger statewide tenant protections to support our city.

 For example, despite Oakland City Council passing a resolution calling upon the State Legislature to repeal the Ellis Act, or at least suspend these evictions during the pandemic, our legislature refused to act. As a tenant advocate who helped launch the coalition that spearheaded Ellis Act legislation, and as a tenant myself (if elected, I would be just 1 of 3 tenants, out of 120 state lawmakers), I would bring a tenants rights framework to our legislature to support the needs of Oakland tenants.

Gun Violence

Last year, nearly as many Black Oaklanders died from a gunfire as did from COVID-19. It isn’t enough to just say we need tougher statewide gun control laws – California already has some of the strongest in the country.

 Oakland deserves a state legislator who understands the root causes of this violence and the state action needed to address it – including more funding for community-based organizations that do meaningful prevention work, economic development and expanded career opportunities for our youth, and more broadly, treating gun violence as a public health crisis – all of which are pillars of my platform.

This special election, vote for the only Oakland candidate on the ballot, a person who will take action based on the needs of our city, and work towards achieving economic, educational, racial, and environmental justice. Learn more at 

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Alameda County Advances to State’s Yellow Tier, More Activities Allowed

To learn more about the updates, visit The livestream for both Community Updates will be available on YouTube and recordings will be available after the events.



Nick Fewings - Unsplash

Alameda County announced that the county will advance to the Yellow Tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening framework effective Wednesday, June 9. In the Yellow Tier, indoor dining is allowed at 50% capacity; most retail store capacity increases to 100%; and gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios may operate indoors at 50% capacity with modifications; and movie theaters’ capacity increases to 50%. Bars, where no meals are served, may open indoors at 25% capacity. For the full roster of activities, visit and enter Alameda in the search field.

The following activities remain restricted in the Yellow Tier and are not allowed by the State to operate:

  • Festivals
  • Nightclubs

 Businesses may want to use this week to plan for the broad reopening that the State will allow starting June 15. Wednesday through June 14, businesses and activities permitted to open or expand under the State’s Yellow Tier must continue to comply with the State’s Industry Guidance for that tier Additional workplace resources can be found at  and

All workplaces governed by Cal/OSHA must follow their current standards and the updated standards starting June 15, including masking requirements for employees.

 To help residents and employers understand changing COVID-19 guidance and what moving Beyond the Blueprint means for them, employees, and clients and customers, Alameda County is hosting two Community Updates:

  • For Residents
    June 15, from 6-7:30 pm
  • For Employers
    June 21, from 6-7:30 pm
    This Community Update will include an overview of Cal/OSHA’s updated standardsso the appropriate steps can be taken to ensure a safe work environment after June 15.

To learn more about the updates, visit The livestream for both Community Updates will be available on YouTube and recordings will be available after the events.

Alameda County continues to encourage anyone 12 and older to get vaccinated. The decline in cases and mortality shows that the best protection against COVID-19 is vaccination. All currently available vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available. When you are ready, get vaccinated. If you missed your second dose, you should still complete your vaccination series. Visit to learn where you can find a vaccination clinic near you.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and then stay home. Wash your hands regularly.

Keep six feet of distance when you are in public or don’t know the vaccination status of those around you.

Alameda County remains aligned with the State’s face-masking mandate. Everyone should wear a mask in indoor public settings, even if fully vaccinated, until State masking guidance changes. If you are fully vaccinated, wear a mask in outdoor crowded settings. If you are unvaccinated continue to wear a mask outdoors any time physical distancing can’t be maintained. Keep it simple: if you don’t know the vaccination status of those around you, wear a mask.

With Alameda County’s movement to the Yellow Tier, the City of Oakland’s Emergency Grocery Worker Hazard Pay sunsets.

In the coming days, the City of Oakland will distribute more information on its planned, phased reopening.

Karen Boyd is the citywide communications director for the City of Oakland.

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