A Student’s Take on Oakland’s Gentrification

 Image from nextcity.org

Image from nextcity.org

This article was first published on http://www.energyconvertors.org

By: Anacelia Rodriguez

In Oakland, I have many friends who live in the Oakland hills, low income regions of Oakland and some don’t even live in Oakland to avoid high priced living. This not only affects the people that have lived here all their life but it also affects my own family. This is causing families such as mines to look for houses or living situations in places outside Oakland. This issue is most of the people driven out have children that go to school here. I struggle with that the only reason I am staying is due to my education and my mother wants me to stay somewhere, where I am striving to do better and stay on task.

The gentrification is messing with the diversity of Oakland. On the SFGATE, they stated “Oakland lost almost half of its African American population from 1990 to 2011, and fewer African Americans own homes…”(Jones 1). This breaks my heart. Can you imagine these percentage drops happening so quickly? The people that ‘replace’ them are nothing like you, don’t look like you, judge you. It not just my feelings, I’m writing for the lucky bunch of people that have been living in Oakland for a while that feel things are changing too fast and not for the benefit of Oakland citizens.

KQED’s Olivia Allen-Price states, “…Between 2010 and 2014…28 percent of those leaving Oakland made less than $30,000… at the other end of the spectrum, high-income earners making $150,000 or more are leaving at a rate about 30 percent lower than expected…” This is significant because all these new people, mostly white, are moving here seem either unaware or uninterested of what they are doing to Oakland natives, and I think it is messed up. You see these statistics every day in the streets. I walk home and don’t see people that look like me anymore. They seem friendly, but it’s hard for me to smile back when I know they drive out my friends, family, and potentially me.

By paying attention to what’s happening locally and helping one another out in a time of need we can stand up in what we believe in. We can’t stay silent when there is wrong going on all around us. We need this change for the future generations and community to see what it is like to stand your ground when times get tough.