Fourth Edition: “Our Oakland” — Giving Students a Better Understanding of their Community

By: Brenda Sanchez, Senior 

My experience with the “Our Oakland” Project three years ago was very different than how it is now. Now that I am a senior, I forgot most of my experience with this project. However, I do remember that my topic was violence in Oakland, and it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. I got to go out to Jack London Square with the rest of my group and interview many people about our topic. The worst part about interviewing people was that some people that did not want to answer our questions; they rejected us. The best part of the interview process was that we got a break from school, and we were able to just have a chill day walking around with our friends. An obstacle that I encountered during the project was that one of my group members went to Mexico and could not finish her part of the project. I had to take the responsibility of finishing it up for her. This was very challenging and frustrating for me! I think that interviewing one of the freshmen will give me more of an understanding on how the “Our Oakland” Project has changed over the years.

I interviewed Katebah Alolefl, a freshman in my advisory, about her experience with “Our Oakland” this year.

Question1: What was your group’s topic? What is something interesting you found out about it?

Answer: My topic was police brutality. Something interesting was people’s opinions about this topic. 

Question 2:  How were your experiences interviewing people?

Answer: It was different because I never did it before. 

Question 3: How did you decide whom to ask questions to?

Answer: We looked for people who didn’t look annoyed and were free.

Question 4: What was the most challenging part of this project?

Answer: Getting rejected and people not knowing anything about police brutality.

Question 5: What did you learn from the Our Oakland project?

Answer: Police brutality is a really big problem in Oakland.

Question 6: How do you think you can reduce the problem in Oakland after this project?

Answer: I think by having fair police officers.

 I am very impressed that this year’s “Our Oakland” project has changed a lot. These new freshmen have opportunities to learn about other issues that are happening lately around Oakland. I think that the topics are more specific. They have gangs as one topic, instead of the larger topic of the violence. We had smoking, and they have a bigger topic, which is “drugs.” They also have trash, which is a new topic. They get to learn a lot of skills like interviewing, which Katebah never did before. I believe that these students have a better understanding of Oakland, and why many things happen around the community.

Edited By: Eva Oliver, Digital Journalism Teacher


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