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West Oakland Kindergarten Teacher Arvella Hayden Set to Retire After 57 Years

Over the course of her career, Hayden has counted herself as lucky to have worked at such great schools. “The parents were very nice. I had nice principals, nice teachers, and everyone seemed just like one family.” 

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Arvella Hayden

Courtesy of the Oakland Unified School District

When Arvella Hayden started working in Oakland Unified School District, it was an entirely different world. That year, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize, Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, won the World Heavyweight Championship, Beatlemania was all the rage as the Beatles released “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the average cost of a house was $13,050, and gasoline cost 30 cents per gallon. 

The year was 1964.

Hayden joined the OUSD family 57 years ago. Now, in 2021, she is retiring from her job as a kindergarten teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. “I hate to leave the children,” she said, but she knows the time is right.

Hayden started her career at Arroyo Viejo Child Development Center, then moved on to teach at Lafayette Elementary, before transferring to Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary. She spent almost 40 years at Lafayette. 

She was educated at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, and said it was clear early on she was going to be a teacher. “My oldest sister was a teacher, and she taught for 40 years. She was my role model.”

 “Just looking at her and seeing the love she gives the kids, she’s just special… just being a teacher this long, that’s a big gift,” said Dinah Castle, the school’s noon supervisor who has also worked in Hayden’s class for more than 30 years. “This keeps her going. She loves kids. She doesn’t have any kids, but these are her kids. She looks forward to getting up every morning and coming here.”

Over the course of her career, Hayden has counted herself as lucky to have worked at such great schools. “The parents were very nice. I had nice principals, nice teachers, and everyone seemed just like one family.” 

She adds that people were the secret to why she was able to do the job for so long. “Everybody, like I said, was easy to get along with and helping each other… The community, the teachers and everything. It’s my family.”

    “It is an honor and a privilege to work with an educator who has seen many decades of change in how students learn and how the education system operates,” said Roma Groves-Waters, principal of King Elementary. “I am so appreciative to have worked with Arvella Hayden. She will be remembered as an icon for all teachers in America.”
 
Hayden has taught three generations of Oaklanders, saying she has had the grandchildren of some of her original students in her classes. “When I’m out in the community, I love to see and have them come and say, ‘Hi, Ms. Hayden. I remember you when you taught me.’ And that makes me feel real good.”

“We celebrate Arvella Hayden, a true living legend,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “I started in education in 1997, and at that point, Ms. Hayden had already been teaching for 33 years – which is itself a remarkable career in education. She has meant as much to the West Oakland community, and Oakland as a whole, as any single person in OUSD, and I cannot thank her enough for impacting the lives of so many students over the last half century plus.”

Arvella Hayden plans to spend her retirement traveling and spending time with her family.

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Community

West Oakland Food Giveaway Event a Success Through ‘Comm-Unity’

Common Unity is more than a slogan. It is the actual showing of what it means to be as one with the promise and actual example of itself. As one volunteer known as” Mr. Fab” said, “Community is nothing but common unity.”

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Photo Courtesy of Calle Macarone from Unsplash

First and foremost, I thank the Most High for making the June 5 “A Day of Giving,” a food and necessity giveaway a success. It was quite amazing to see all the sectors of our Oakland communities come together to make this event a fruitful and worthwhile effort at Ralph Bunche School and de Fremery Park in West Oakland from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

It was a volunteer-inspired effort that I describe as ‘Comm-Unity,’ which simply means common unity because it matters not what part of town you’re from. Whether a volunteer identified as a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic and or as a non-believer, it only mattered that they all had one reason and one common goal, which was to just serve others in need.

What was remarkable was the participation of those who were formerly incarcerated. Some members of this segment of the community showed up with their families and children and showed out by volunteering along with businesspersons and clergymen to help feed needy families.

The lines of vehicles stretched for more than one-and-a-half miles. More than 900 vehicles that had presented the Post newspaper coupon or had registered at the website address were presented with boxes of food and supplies. More than 200 volunteers loaded each vehicle after giving each driver a choice of a selection of the 52 different food items and household cleaning supplies on various pallets. Deliveries were also made to some elderly residents who did not have vehicles. The remaining food and supplies were distributed to non-profits that serve the needy.

A special shout out to the Oakland Post Newspaper Group, Trybe, Deeply Rooted, Ronald Muhammad, Ear Hustle, John Ya Ya Johnson, Missy Percy, Jamil Wilson, Attorney Anne Wells, ROC’S Richard Corral, Lee Oliveres, Jesus P. Peguero, Ricky “Styles” Ricardo, Paul Redd, Savior Charles, OG riders Arnold Torres, Gabe Zuniga, Rudy Yanez, Rolando Coffman; Janelle Marie Charles of Epsilon Phi Zeta, Mrs. Marsha Woodfork of Zeta Amicae of the Epsilon Phi Zeta, the Black Firefighters Association, Felicia Bryant, Mr. Fab’s Dope Era Clothing Store, Cesar Cruz’s Homie’s Empowerment, The Oakland Gumbo Cultural Group, Amina Nicole, Queen Johnson, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, Walter Culp and the entire staff of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, who helped with organizing, rental/warehouse space,  equipment rentals, insurance expenses, obtaining  permits, food donations, refrigeration vans and donation of funds, and purchases such as walkie-talkies, pallet jacks, forklifts, portable toilets, laborers, social media posts and recruitment of volunteers.

Several elected Officials, including the District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife, clergymen, community leaders, community investors and local entertainers lent their support by volunteering to serve our community families in need.

We will continue to work with the Oakland Post Newspaper Group, to make June 5 “A Day of Giving” event a model for future giveaways of necessities that included boxes of oatmeal, fruits and vegetables including corn, green beans, pinto beans, chili beans, peas, pears, mixed peas & carrots, potato chips, gold fish and animal crackers, zoo crackers, Cheez-Its, cups of mixed fruits, granola bars, mac and cheese, Welch’s fruit snacks, canned pears, canned peaches, gallons of olive oil, whole chickens, varieties of luncheon meats (roast beef, turkey, sliced cheese), mixed nuts, Belvita breakfast cookies, Ritz crackers, canned chicken, spaghetti, whole wheat and white pasta, dry pinto beans, cases of bottled water, canned tuna, impossible burgers, masks, gallons of bleach, laundry detergent, surface cleaners, large rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, toothbrushes, baby wipes, dishwashing liquid, body wash, dental floss and boxes of peanut butter.

I was moved by the tears and shouts of joy from some families and children when they were showered with boxes of food and cleaning supplies that literally loaded down their vehicles. One mother said she was accustomed to receiving one bag or a box of food that could last for a day or a week, but she never dreamed that she would be given enough food and cleaning supplies to last for months.

I pray that this approach of providing a sustainable amount of food that was inspired by the leadership of Mrs. Egypt Ina Marie King will shine as the beacon of hope, pride and promise before our God Almighty. Nothing is greater than the powers of God and when our hearts are focused on freely serving others, we then are giving praises to God.

I thank Rev. Ken Chambers and the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) for coordinating a pop-up, drop-in clinic in a tent to provide COVID-19 vaccination shots during our food give-away.

Common Unity is more than a slogan. It is the actual showing of what it means to be as one with the promise and actual example of itself. As one volunteer known as” Mr. Fab” said, “Community is nothing but common unity.”

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Business

Go Fund Geoffrey’s

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

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Geoffrey's Inner Circle

For more than 30 years Geoffrey Pete ‘s business, Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, has been a cultural hub because of its full-service restaurant, live entertainment, nightclub parties, jazz music and community special occasion events. Faith-based organizations have also rented the spacious facilities for services and concerts. Their full-service restaurant, bar and live entertainment business along with their tenants and multilevel event rental spaces have been severely interrupted and devastated by the COVID 19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Now those lights are dimmed due to the economic conditions that have descended on high intensity people-contact businesses.

Thanks to a group of customers and supporters a Go Fund Me page has been opened for the public to contribute to support Geoffrey’s Inner Circle https://gofund.me/b2541419.

The Post newspaper has notified the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce that regular articles concerning the needs of Geoffrey’s and other Black-owned Businesses will be published weekly.

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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.

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Juneteenth Flyer
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