We are deeply committed to investing in and supporting community-based organizations and initiatives in Oakland that are on the frontlines of racial justice movement building. In response to this critical moment in Oakland and nationally, Akonadi Foundation launched the #SoLoveCanWin Rapid Response Fund, intended to spark imagination and seed new ways of advancing safety and healing opportunities in Oakland for the communities most impacted by racial inequity. Building safe and healed communities is a precondition for the sustained transformative change we seek. Today, we remain as committed as ever to racial justice movement building that strengthens the solidarity and intersectionality of our struggles.
Running from August 15-November 15, 2106, Akonadi Foundation’s #SoLoveCanWin Rapid Response Fund awarded thirty eight (38) grants totaling $91,000 ranging from $1,000-$2,500. Many of the grants were given to organizations working with communities at the intersection of multiple oppressions including gender, sexual orientation, formerly incarcerated, survivors of trafficking and sex exploitation, ability, and age. The project list below highlights categories by major themes. Many of the projects touch on a cross section of themes, and projects are only categorized as way to communicate about the work, rather than limit the range and impact of the work being done in the community. Themes included:
- Supporting Communities of Color Directly Impacted by Gun Violence, Policing and Prison System
- Intersection of Activism with Non-Western Healing Modalities and Spiritual Based Practices
- Gender Justice Based Healing Circles and Events
- Support for Frontline Organizers & Activists
- Building Alternatives to Calling Police
- Art & Culture Based Healing Projects
- Neighborhood Based Community Cohesion & Self Determination Projects
- Culturally Relevant Workshops Focused on Specific Community of Color to Advance Healing from Racial Trauma
So Love Can Win Grant Awards List (as of Dec 14, 2016)
SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES DIRECTLY IMPACTED BY GUN VIOLENCE, POLICING & PRISONS SYSTEM
ALAN BLUEFORD CENTER FOR JUSTICE
Alan Blueford Center for Justice provides a safe place for people to heal and express concerns about problems in the community from poverty to police brutality. SLCW will support it’s weekly girls group “MORE LOVE” and the community event “Healing Hearts to Heal” focused on providing resources to black families who have lost loved one to police and gun violence.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE FOR OAKLAND YOUTH (RJOY)
North Oakland Restorative Justice Council (NORJC) works to put the neighbor back into our neighborHOOD. NORJC empowers our diverse communities to create solutions to neighborhood problems through the use of restorative justice practices. SLCW will support a community forum that integrates artistic expression and community building to lift up the theme of self determination to address the impacts of mass incarceration, violence, displacement and gentrification in the community. SLCW resources will also support two community trainings to build leadership capacity of those most impacted by systemic violence, economic injustice, and displacement within our community.
LOVE NOT BLOOD
Love Not Blood Campaign works with families that have suffered the traumatic experience of loss of a loved one through homicide, whether by police officers or community violence. The organization’s Family Crisis Team offers families a broad-based network of support to help families know that they are not alone. SLCW will support a weekend healing circle during the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland. The circle will include eight Oakland families of those affected by violence, including Michael Brown’s family.
CHOICES FOR FREEDOM
Choices for Freedom was founded by Nate Williams, who was incarcerated as a juvenile in the California adult prison system, and released on November 1, 2012 after spending 32 years in the California correctional system. The mission of Choices for Freedom is to improve the lives of individuals who have been, or are at risk of being involved in criminal justice system.SLCW will support two healing circles in Oakland- one in East Oakland (partner: Youth Uprising , a youth serving non-profit) and one in West Oakland (partner C.U.R.A., a nonprofit serving men and women in re-entry). Healing circles will be a forum for Mr. Williams to tell his story, and lead a healing circle with Oakland with community members.
ASIAN AMERICAN PRISONER SUPPORT COMMITTEE
The mission of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC) is to provide support to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) prisoners and to raise awareness about the impact of mass incarceration on those communities. APSC is pioneering a cross cultural Reentry Navigator training program with Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), the first ever program in the nation that focuses on building bridges and support between AAPI and African American formerly incarcerated communities. SLCW will enable APSC to host at least 6 cross cultural events between formerly incarcerated African American, AAPI, and Latinx communities in Oakland. Activities will include: healing circles, racial justice events, cultural events, and community exposure activities.
NON-WESTERN HEALING MODALITIES & SPIRITUAL BASED PRACTICES
DEEP ROOTS URBAN REFUGE
Deep Roots Urban Refuge provides healing, respite, and renewal for those in need through traditional and alternative healing methods. Deep Roots Urban Refuge is in alignment with Audre Lorde’s thinking: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” SLCW grant will support weekly Radical Self Care Salons for men and women of color.
Initiation Rights provides a space at the intersection of spirituality and social justice for activist of color. SLCW grant will support a daylong workshop exploring and integrating spirituality into the work and lives of activist of color. Event will include an interfaith panel of spiritual leaders of color from various spiritual and religious traditions discussing ways to infuse spirituality into their activism and everyday lives.
Resilient Wellness seeks to end multigenerational trauma and advance holistic health through policy advocacy, health education and service delivery. The organization advocates for policies that address the root causes of trauma in communities of color. SLCW grant will support the launch of Resilient Wellness’ Emotional Emancipation Circles at the West Oakland Youth Center and United Roots. In addition to workshop costs, funds will cover a healing bag, that will include a small guide book with a set of healing stones and sage for energetic healing.
The mission of the UndocuHealing Project is to fortify and rejuvenate the lives and political movements of undocumented young people through courageous reconciliation, holistic healing, and authentic connection. In the wake of the presidential election results, SLCW will support a “regeneration and healing” workshop in Oakland for immigrant and undocumented communities. The workshop will integrate a spiritual counselor, indigenous healer and meditation teacher to help the community manage the outpouring of grief, pain, anger and fear since the election.
GENDER JUSTICE BASED HEALING CIRCLES & EVENTS
HEALTH AND RESOURCE EDUCATION CENTER (HHREC)
HHREC creates healthy communities through intergenerational and innovative approaches to wellness programs and services. HHREC has operated the Black Women’s Media and Wellness Project for over 10 years and has created a network of African American women who are healers, activists and health practitioners. SLCW grant will support two half day community healing sessions called “Leading with Love” focused on supporting women of African descent and women of color to have balance, patience, and experience joy, while advocating for justice.
SACRED SPACE SPIRITUAL GROUP
Sacred Space Spiritual Group provides a spiritually based supportive environment for an intergenerational group of women of color to gather, network, and experience a sense of community and safety while learning more about good health. SLCW will support their 21st annual Maafa Commemoration event. Maafa is a swahili term for disaster, calamity or terrible occurrence and is used to describe the Trans-Atlantic-Middle Passage-Black Holocaust.
GENDER & SEXUALITIES ALLIANCE NETWORK
Gender & Sexualities Alliance Network is a LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains queer, trans and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities in Oakland. SLCW will support a LGBTQ Latinx Youth and Parent Summit to be held in the Fruitvale neighborhood in partnership with Somos Familia. The summit will explore topics of family acceptance, anti-black racism, safety beyond the police, resisting criminalization on school campuses, and the role of faith and spirituality in change work.
Peacock Rebellion is a crew of queer and trans artists, healers, organizers and cultural workers of color who use the arts to heal QTPOC communities from intimate, interpersonal, institutional, and structural violence. SLCW funding will be used to host a QTPOC healing justice clinic centering community-based responses to violence, specifically to address the recent attacks, murders, suicides, suicide attempts, and institutionalization of queer and trans people of color in Oakland. QTPOC healers will provide free, accessible, culturally competent services in energy work, somatic practices, tools for crisis management including meditation and other contemplative practices; and a peer-led group circle on how to create community-based care teams as an alternative to the transphobic, violent medical industrial complex.
WE FIGHT BACK
A project of Mamacita’s Cafe, We Fight Back is a boxing and self-defense program intended to help women and girls stay alive and safer. We Fight Back founder Hamida Yusfzai sees liberation as an embodied practice. We Fight Back seeks to create space for women of color to discover and develop their physical and emotional strength. SLCW will support a five week self defense workshop series working with system impacted female identified youth who face deeper levels of oppression in society due to the intersectionality of sexual identity, race and culture. A goal of the workshop series will be to increase young women’s awareness of the white supremacist, patriarchal oppression faced by girls and women of color to increase personal safety through fierceness, sisterhood, and awakening.
WeareMAAT’s Conscience Women’s Study And Elevation Clubhouse is dedicated to all melanated sisters seeking knowledge and healing through reading and discussion of African Literature and African Spirituality Systems. SLCW will support an intergenerational group of African-American women to come together to address effects of trauma through a group supported healing processes. Group work will include reading and reflecting on African literature and spiritual healing to build a unified voice, accountability, and self-determination. The aim is to help facilitate the much-needed safe space that nurtures a sense of belonging, collective strength, and healing.
UNITED YOUTH LEADERS (UYL)
UYL’s primary objective is to offer revolutionary techniques to protect children, heal communities, and restore families while promoting social justice. UYL is committed to servant leadership through public service by using the SANKOFA approach, “Reaching into the past in order to build for future generations.” UYL’s fundamental belief is to renew the community by restoring family through revolutionary youth. SLCW will support a healing, listening session called Community Girls W.R.A.P.: Working Restoratively to Address Problems, Renew, Restore, Revolutionize: a one-day journey to healing from trauma, social injustice, and racial criminalization. Using a trauma-informed group processing model, girls will be encouraged to re-imagine the vision for their lives as they start the recovery process to heal from their trauma.
API EQUALITY- NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
API Equality – Northern California (APIENC) builds LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander (API) power to amplify the voices and increase the visibility of its communities. In the wake of the most recent presidential election, trans and gender nonconforming people (TGNC) , especially TGNC people of color, are experiencing hateful violence and an increasingly urgent need to access healthcare and legal services. SLCW will support a Trans Justice focused healing event for trans and queer API people in Oakland to process, reflect, and plug into available resources.
Sins Invalid is a performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. The organization aims to show that any vision of social justice must include experiences of disability along with the intersections of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, and class. Given US history of eugenics, state violence and coercion, there is a real concern that disabled people of color will be targeted under a Trump administration. SLCW will support the following workshops and events to support this community: a) A facilitate local dialogue to strategize safety for people of color with disabilities; b) A “Making Connections” conversation on community and individual self defense; and c) A “Song of Social Justice” performance workshop to focus on the healing nature of song and sound. Sins Invalid believes healing justice work is crucial and that authentic voice can be used as a tool for social justice.
SUPPORT FOR FRONTLINE ORGANIZERS & ACTIVIST
Oakland Rising educates and mobilizes voters in the flatlands to speak up for, and take charge of, the issues impacting their lives. SLCW grant will support Oakland Rising to host a day-long retreat with it’s Daily Team members, the 30+ individuals who do day to day door-knocking and phone banking for campaigns. Daily Team member are mostly natives of Oakland’s flatlands, primarily Black, and about 80%+ are previously incarcerated. Facilitated by OneLife Institute, this event would provide debriefing and political education after the election, and also offer some space for healing and self-care in an outdoor setting.
OneLife is an Oakland-based organization serving at the intersection of spirituality and social action. It’s mission is to nurture, inspire, and sustain people committed to healing and justice. OneLife aims to “lift up the folks that lift up the folks,” providing a place where healers can heal and leaders can lead. SLCW will support two full day programs: 1) Healing Circles for Activists of Color, and 2) Healing Black Lives: A Day of Renewal for Activists of African Descent.
HIP HOP FOR CHANGE
Hip Hop for Change utilizes hip hop culture to advance social justice. A main arm of the work is grassroots outreach education and fundraising in affluent neighborhoods. This past year Hip Hop for Change canvassers, an intergenerational group of predominately black folks from Oakland, spoke to 26,000 people in Oakland and around the Bay Area about the critical issues facing low-income black and brown communities. SLCW grant will support a retreat for Hip Hop for Change staff and canvassers to offer them an opportunity to decompress in nature and plan for the future.
Planting Justice serves the people of Oakland through a culturally relevant and empowering food justice/urban agriculture mission led by people of color. Planting Justice serves more than 65,000 children and adults per year and has created living wage green jobs for 34 formerly incarcerated adults in urban agriculture. SLCW will support the development of healing events and resources for Planting Justice staff under the frame: “How Are You Healing Today?”.
BAY-PEACE: BETTER ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUTH
BAY PEACE’s Peace in Action program (PIA) is dedicated to promoting youth leadership through popular education, community organizing, civic engagement and liberation arts. SLCW will support three first friday workshops for PIA youth that focus on different self-care, spirituality and healing practices from diasporic African, Indigenous Native American traditions, Indigenous Central or South American traditions that represent cultural traditions of PIA youth. The youth’s participation will serve as healing centered trainings for them to continue these legacies of spiritual healing and self-care for themselves and their peers.
BUILDING ALTERNATIVES TO CALLING POLICE
PEOPLE’S COMMUNITY MEDICS
The People’s Community Medics believe we do not need to depend solely upon the state to assist us when a medical emergency is in progress; it is an act of self-determination when we help one another in our communities. The People’s Community Medics educate people, free of charge, on how to treat medical emergencies such as seizures, gunshot wounds, and stabbings. The SLCW grant will support workshop costs including the purchase of medical supplies that are given away to the community.
OAKLAND PEACE CENTER
The Oakland Peace Center (OPC) provides space, hosts collaborative events and trainings, and creates a network of emotional and spiritual support for the 40+ organizations who partners to advance non-violent movement building. OPC partner organizations over the past year have committed to creating a plan that allows them to never call the police for incidents that occur at the center. SLCW will support POOR Magazine to lead OPC partners and the wider community in a day long training to develop a plan to keep the street community, people with mental health concerns, youth, and Black and Brown community members safe. OPC believes if its partner organizations are equipped to navigate health crises and violent outbursts in ways that do not engage the police, it will have a significant ripple effects as well as allowing our physical space to better serve the people most impacted by police violence.
ART & CULTURE BASED HEALING PROJECTS
TuBeNu CULTURAL GATHERERS
The mission of TuBeNu Cultural Gatherers is to combat and heal the African American community from post-traumatic slave syndrome through the arts (music, dance, art and drama) by telling the story of slavery from an African American perspective. SLCW grant will support the showing of “Black Like Me In America: A Musical Journey through Slavery” to the Oakland community. A West African Proverb that is shared in the performance is, “A tree without roots cannot grow, a people without a true history of their past can never be free.”
SLCW grant will support the Open Love Letter (OLL) Workshop Series(an out-growth of DelineDreamProductions’ community-acclaimed dance-theater piece), An Open Love Letter to Black Fathers: A Choreopoem. Within the current climate in the U.S., the OLL Workshop Series will offer a participatory event which encourages people working at the intersection of art and practice, to use language and movement to investigate and instigate healing. This all-day workshop will benefit one cohort of roughly 20 “artivists” of color, who are committed to including a tangible, radical process of healing within their process of art-making.
Betti Ono is an experimentally minded space for art + culture + community headquartered in Oakland. Betti Ono values art making as a form and function of activism, self-determination, community transformation, and cultural resilience. SLCW will support an Arts & Civic Engagement Youth Summit commemorating the closing of the exhibition Viral: 25 Years from Rodney King and the National Day of Protest to End Police Brutality. The summit aims to build the power of black and brown youth (14-24) and their families who are impacted by police brutality. Youth participants will make politically themed art. They will also hear and learn from the families of those who have fallen victim to police violence. Speakers include Oscar Grant’s uncle, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, Michael Brown Sr., Gwendolyn Woods, Jeralynn Blueford and other family members who have lost loved ones to police violence.
3 REALMS COLLECTIVE
The Sweet Medicine Mural Project actively seeks to collaborate with marginalized individuals and communities who endure daily exposure to the toxic effects of endemic oppressions, who occupy physically, socially and culturally contested land spaces, and for whom such healing project is crucial resource to personal, collective, and environmental wellness. SLCW grant will support a workshop series to create a mural with East Bay Meditation Center’s youth sangha group. The mural will be shared with the community through an ancestral healing ritual and community celebration led and designed by youth. The workshops will aims to support youth to tap into and draw out their own healing practices. The mural will serve as an offering of medicine and healing prayer for the community.
FRIENDS OF PERALTA HACIENDA HISTORICAL PARK
The mission of Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is to promote understanding, historical healing, and community. Peralta Hacienda seeks to represent the people and cultures on Fruitvale and East Oakland’s streets, schools and stores through multi-media exhibits that the people themselves create. SLCW will support numerous art exhibits and film showings in the next three months that highlight community topics including disability justice, black history, incarceration, and child sex trafficking and abuse. Each event will center on highlighting stories of resilience featuring local community members including dialogues to promote healing, and local Fruitvale community cohesion and connection.
United Roots (UR) partners with local businesses to train youth as social entrepreneurs to create an equitable economy. In response to this election, United Roots in partnerships with Oakland Peace Center will provide an event that includes a day of trainings (direct action, de-escalation tactics to protect potential assault victims, alternatives to policing, effective advocacy through social media, etc) and art/culture/music. SLCW will support UR youth to create a short video about the 40+ OPC partners, including UR, who work to advance non-violent movement building to be showcased at the event. The film will serve as resource for people wanting to develop their nonviolent movement building skills, people facing deportation, and people seeking to engage in the movement for Black Lives.
NEIGHBORHOOD BASED COMMUNITY COHESION & SELF DETERMINATION PROJECTS
THE EAST OAKLAND COLLECTIVE
The East Oakland Collective is a cohort of millennials invested in working towards a better future for underserved populations and communities of color in East Oakland. The East Oakland Collective’s mission is to be engagers of actionable community work and leaders of civic engagement through involvement in the landscape of East Oakland. SLCW will support an East Oakland Listening Session called “Bringing Our Voices” in partnership with Youth Uprising to hear, heal and record the challenges and issues East Oakland community residents are presently facing.
SELF HELP HUNGER PROGRAM
A project of Phat Beets, Self Help Hungar Program’s mission is to provide a collective nutritional meal for the community surrounding Drivers Plaza and Park in north Oakland/South Berkeley (predominantly homeless and hungry folks) as a way to build a community of self-determination and resistance; similar to the how BPP used the free breakfast program. The park is seen as the last stronghold against gentrification in north Oakland and provides a safe haven for black elders and youth in the neighborhood. The organization was started by Black Panther Aunti Frances Moore. SLCW funding will support weekly Tuesday meals and support the building of the Memorial Orchard which aim to commemorate the historically black community of that neighborhood. Tuesday meals is a time where the community comes together to prioritize and organize against gentrification and criminalization of folks who occupy the park.
The mission of Trybe Inc. is to see people and communities come together and connect to create beloved community. SLCW will support “FunkTown Bella Vista Multi-Faith Cultural Celebration.” The event will be led by local youth and local families who come from under-represented cultures. Local Afghani, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Mien, and Mexican families and youth from Eastlake/San Antonio/Fruitvale area will organize an event to celebrate their different cultural backgrounds through food and cultural expression. The aim of the event is to provide a positive, freeing and fun environment where people can relax, vision, and build neighborhood cohesion.
OTHER COMPELLING EVENTS & WORKSHOPS FOCUSED ON ADVANCING HEALING FROM RACIAL TRAUMA IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR
AMERICAN INDIAN CHILD RESOURCE CENTER
The American Indian Child Resource Center is a non-profit social service and educational organization serving the American Indian Community of Oakland, CA since 1974. AICRC diligently serves its community as a service provider and resource hub to access culturally relevant and culturally sensitive services. AICRC youth participants have followed the current struggle in Standing Rock, ND where a group of inter-tribal, inter-faith, inter-cultural protectors are resisting Dakota Access Pipeline. The events in North Dakota have evoke painful ancestral memories of mistreatment and attempted genocide. SLCW funding will be used to host a youth led teach-in event for the larger Oakland community to gain support for the protectors in Standing Rock. By organizing the event AICRC youth will have an opportunity to heal and build resiliency skills.
PRIORITY AFRICA NETWORK
Priority Africa Network (PAN) engages people of African descent in the U.S. to build solidarity and support for the peoples of Africa and its Diaspora for sustained peace, democracy, economic, political, racial, gender and social justice. PAN’s key program is African Diaspora Dialogues (ADD) where immigrant and US-born Black communities convene to share life stories and migration histories. Before Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, there was Amadou Diallo. As Oakland’s new Black immigrant populations grow, SLCW will support inter-ethnic dialogue for people of African descent to address race beyond the Black/White paradigm. Funds will specifically go towards creating toolkits and cost associated with documenting personal stories impacted by ADD over the years.
The mission of Spearitwurz is to advance the direction of youth development and social transformation through conscientious consulting, wellness workshops, and transformative trainings. SLCW will support Spearitwurz to launch it’s inaugural Black Power Parenting Sessions for young parents in Oakland. In the age of “Black Lives Matter” and the impending coronation of an openly racist U.S. president, Spearitwurz believes it is important to intentionally build healthy, resilient and capable family units that can protect youth from the impacts of institutional, interpersonal and internalized racism. The Black Power Parenting Sessions will create safe space for young parents to reflect on their own childhood experiences to heal and deepen their understanding of the driving values that shape their parenting. The intention is that participants will walk away from the Black Power Parenting Sessions armed with skills that can transforms how they parent, affirming from the womb that Black Lives, do indeed, Matter.
Goddessflow presents community engagement events that celebrate the black feminine divine. It holds space for creativity, innovative self-expression, deeper awareness, and civic involvement. SLCW grant will support a series of pop-up creative writing workshops at community spaces and bookstores throughout Oakland targeting youth adults of color. A workbook grounded in kemetic religious principles to promote healing, remembering, and self-mastery will guide the workshop.