Fred B.
I grew up in Oakland. I got to know the city and the people by riding my bike through East Oakland, West Oakland, downtown. My family was very involved in the community, running nonprofits and attending council and community meetings. I often joke that I was that kid with my coloring book in the back of the community meetings. I went to a school founded and run by the Black Panther Party, and graduated from Skyline. My family instilled in me a very strong sense of community, social justice, and the importance of place. Oakland is an interesting place to grow up – it’s small enough that you get a chance to see the whole community. I have friends who never lived to be adults, people who were brighter than I was, but never got to live out their potential. It gave me a lot of respect for the role everyone has to play in society, and that some of us get to where we are through hard work and being disciplined, but also by being lucky enough to having systems of support through our families, friends, and loved ones that allow us to overcome whatever obstacles that are in our way, and give us a second chance on our journey.