By Leon Davis, HOPE Steering Committee Co-Chair
On October 22, 2014 at Allen Temple Arms, I will be the moderator for the Oakland Speaks Forum, which will be a one-of-a kind forum where Oaklanders share their stories and expectations to help candidates understand the real issues facing our city, specifically around the health and well-being of those most impacted.The confirmed mayoral candidates who will attend include Rebecca Kaplan, S. Karamooz, Patrick McCullough, Bryan Parker, Jean Quan, Courtney Ruby, Libby Schaaf, Dan Siegel, Joe Tuman, and Charles Williams.
I invite you to join us on October 22nd for this one-of-a-kind forum because we all have a role to play in determining the future of our city.
At the forum, I will be asking the candidates:
- What specific policies will you support to improve the health and wellness of Oaklandâs residents?
- How will you increase flatland residentsâ ability to access healthy food, create jobs, and participate in the local economies around food?
However, the question to ask to address the issues, not only Oakland, but the nation and the world as a whole face, should be, âHow can we address changes in our society to lay a foundation for a better future for our children?â, because our current trajectory has proven to be unsustainable.
The current system has produced the greatest divide of income equality, an increase in violence, wars, distrust of elected officials, climate and environmental responsibilities and more. The following are some facts I found about how the system hasnât invested in improving Oakland as a whole.
- – Only 48 out of every 100 high school students in Oakland graduate.
- – About 71% of households in East and West Oakland earn an income of less than $30,000 compared to 28% of households in Alameda County as a whole.
How do we reverse these trends and begin to lay the foundation for our future generations to be healthier, equitable, and more environmental friendly?I believe the answer has been handed down to us by our creator. That answer being, by âtransforming our food system through the proper sharing of resources!â Understanding a city is only as strong as its weakest link. Oakland must strengthen these areas around health, especially for citizens most impacted and begin to build up the resiliency of residentsâ ability to access jobs and entrepreneurialism through the food system.
Access to fresh, healthy, affordable, and locally grown food is what a large portion of Oakland residents are demanding, because they suffer the greatest negative health impacts caused by the conditions of living in food deserts.
The citizens of Oakland will vote to elect their mayor on November 4, 2014. That mayor will be a steward for Oakland residents on important issues like crime, transportation, coliseum city, and more. Will our city be laid to waste or will we come up with great ideas to better the city, particularly for those living in the flatland neighborhoods who suffer the greatest health disparities caused by lack of access to affordable, fresh, healthy, and locally grown food?
You can register for Oakland Speaks here.
See you at the forum!