Oakland is Diverse

By Elizabeth Gonzalez Hinojosa


“Oakland is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the U.S. — it’s now 34 percent White, 28 percent Black, 25 percent Latino and 17 percent Asian” (NPR). This states how Oakland is one of the most diverse communities and as you continue to read you’ll find out what keeps Oakland diverse and unified. What are the events that divide or unite Oakland? To maintain a positive, diverse city it is important to continue having community events, and support for our teams and one another.


Dia De Los Muertos Festival

A really important festival that supports our diverse city is Dia De Los Muertos which  takes place in Fruitvale. The Fruitvale historically and currently is Oakland’s Latino neighborhood. This festival happens yearly on the Day of the Dead, and its purpose is to celebrate and honor those who have passed away. Many different people come to the festival to see how people from different cultures celebrate. The festival has  people who come perform folklorico dances, or aztec dances, and others set up altars for their loved ones who have passed away. Many people from the Oakland community, including myself, come and celebrate this day with everyone else. In a video from KTVU News they interviewed Chris Iglesias who is the CEO, The Unity Council from Oakland and he said, “Over 50,00 people from the community come out to celebrate” (Iglesias). Additionally in another article I read it stated, “Oakland was named the most diverse city in the country with a population less than 400,000” (Pulley). This illustrates that one fourth of the community comes together to celebrate this day. The  community takes the time and effort to be able to know each other and build community with everyone. Amid all the people I interviewed during my winter break, Moncerrat Gonzalez, who has lived in Oakland her whole life and has attended public schools in Oakland to receive her education, attends the Dia De Los Muertos festival every year in Fruitvale. She points out that, “Living in a diverse community is a positive thing because you are more aware of other cultures and can learn from them” (Gonzalez). Her statement connects to El Dia De Los Muertos Festival because the whole Oakland community is welcomed there and many people from different ethnicities and races come and learn different traditions from different cultures for this day. This proves how having festivals like the one from El Dia De Los Muertos brings the community together. Knowing that Gonzalez has attended this festival and said that being aware and learning from other cultures brought her more into the community and helped her build better relationships with people within her community no matter if they come from another culture.



 Additionally, sports teams also bring the Oakland community together. For example, the Warriors and the Raiders are the teams that bring the Oakland community together. In an article about the Warriors parade it states, “We have to come support, show our love to them” (Baldassari). This does not only show how the community was brought together through the Warriors parade, it also shows how our community shows support to one another. In an article about the Raiders by Jose Fermoso he wrote about the way he grew up in Oakland, he points out, “I grew up in church, which is segregated. [But being a Raiders fan] was transformative and beautiful in a way that stays with me” (Fermoso). This explains how because of the way Fermoso grew up he felt separated from the Oakland community but because he was a Raiders fan he felt more included into the Oakland family. Another interesting comment from Fermoso about the Raiders was, “the Raiders … I’ve never been a part of another entity that was as inclusive. Didn’t matter your age, economic status, or race. For three glorious hours, we’re family” (Fermoso). This does not only show that Fermoso felt part of the Oakland family, it also shows how inclusive Oakland is. The sentence that stood out to me from the quote was, “Didn’t matter your age, economic status, or race”. This sentence pointed out how inclusive and loving people are. Being a Raiders fan brought the community together and pushed away all the ageism, classism, and racism. Others may argue that the Raiders and Warriors are dividing the community since they are leaving Oakland. This might be the case because as Fermosos said he felt more part of the community because of the Raiders team, once they leave, the Oakland community might divide up since the Raiders and Warriors won’t be there anymore for them to go and support as a community.


First Friday

Another big unifying event that happens in Oakland is First Friday. It happens every friday of the month and it takes place on Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street. In an article from NPR News where they talked about this event, Meraji said, “ I was, walking with hordes of people, eating food truck grub, popping in and out of hip bars and art galleries” (Meraji). This illustrates how this person was able to bond more with people from his community which is a positive outcome. The purpose of all these community events is for the community to build a stronger relationship or to even meet other people that come from other communities. Meraji has lived in Oakland for about 10 years. Which means that the Oakland community has shown improvement over the last 10 years because 10 years ago we would have events like these but now have these type of community events happening every first friday of the month.

Amongst, all the people I interviewed throughout my winter break was Rosario Gomez. She is a mother of 3 boys and has been living in Oakland for more than 13 years. During the interview Gomez said, “My diverse community would accept and support anyone, without any problems or issues ; we would have several events every year where everyone is welcome” (Gomez). This stood out to me because when I was creating the questions I thought to myself, “What is something important for a diverse community?’ and Gomez talked about community events, which I hadn’t thought about. Gomez’s response connects back to First Friday because this is an event that happens every first friday of the month. Community events are an important contribution for a diverse community because these events are what bring the community closer and through these events the community shows support to one another. Because of these events the community members are able to meet each other and create bonds with one another which are important.


In conclusion, to continue having a positive diverse city it is important to continue having community events, and support for our teams and one another as well. By having community events we will learn and create a bond with one another. Additionally, we need to continue showing support for each other and our teams because this will keep Oakland diverse and unified.



Annotated Bibliography


Baldassari, Erin. “Warriors Parade: Hundreds of Thousands Party in Downtown Oakland.” The Mercury News, The Mercury News, 16 June 2017, www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/15/warriors-parade-expected-to-draw-a-million-or-more-fans-to-downtown-oakland/.


This article shares different information about the Warriors parade in Oakland. For example it informed me about the parade’s population and the audiences reaction to the parade. This is a trustful source because this is a source that a very large amount of people look at which means it is more reliable source since it is more likely to be telling the truth to the people.


Fermoso, Jose. “The Raiders helped unite the divisions in Oakland. What happens when they leave?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 Aug. 2017, www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/aug/11/oakland-raiders-move-las-vegas-nfl-fans-city-impact.


Fermoso explains how because of the way he grew up he was separated from the Oakland community but because of being a raiders fan he was able to become more part of the Oakland community like the rest of the raiders fans. I believe this is a credible source because it contains first hand information. Also this evidence is credible because since the information is current it makes it more truthful.


Gonzalez, Moncerrat. “Diversity Interview .” 28 Dec. 2017.


This is a young person who has lived in Oakland and assisted a public school her whole life. She is a credible source because she has lived in Oakland which means she has experienced living in one of most diverse community. The interview was about their perspective in living in a diverse community.


Gomez, Rosario. “Diversity Interview .” 29 Dec. 2017.


Rosario has lived in Oakland for more than 15 years and has kids that are getting their education in an Oakland public school as well. She has moved houses several times but has chosen to stay in the Oakland community. She is a credible source because she would be telling the truth about her personal experiences because she would want t be heard so people can change their actions to make Oakland a better community for everyone to feel welcomed in.


Ktvu. “BAY AREA PEOPLE Oakland Dia de los Muertos Festival.” KTVU, www.ktvu.com/community/214758723-video.


In this video it is shown how people from all across the united states celebrate this day and unite to honor those who have passed away. This is a credible source because it shows the interviews right there and it shows live videos from all the different celebrations. This is a trustful source because since many people look at this news they would not want to give their community false information.


Meraji, Shereen Marisol. “Seeking Oakland’s Soul In The ‘New Oakland’.” NPR, NPR, 17 Apr. 2013, www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/04/17/177513003/seeking-oaklands-soul-in-the-new-oakland.


This article is about the First Friday Event that happens in Oakland and that everyone is welcomed to. In this source the author compares how Oakland use to be and how it is now. He explains all of the many different ways in which the Oakland community has improved. This is a trustworthy source because it is not from a very long time ago which means that the information is still very current.


Pulley, Anna. “Oakland Named the Most Diverse City in America.” East Bay Express, East Bay Express, 16 Jan. 2018, www.eastbayexpress.com/CultureSpyBlog/archives/2014/12/17/oakland-named-the-most-diverse-city-in-america.


This article informs the different benefits there is to living in a Oakland since it is the most diverse city. They use graphs, pictures and statics to prove their arguments. The evidence they use is from current events which is one of the reasons why this is a credible source.

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Tiffany DeJaynes
May 19, 2018 3:10 pm

Dear Elizabeth,
I appreciate that you looked for “unifying events” that “pushed away” things such as “ageism, classism, and racism.” I also like how you investigate your community by interviewing your neighbors and folks you meet on the street. This creates a multi-layered story that includes many voices, including your own sense of pride in your community. I am wondering if you found any folks who saw Oakland differently, who were dissenting voices or saw fissures and complexities within the unity you celebrate here. Keep interviewing and researching!

January 25, 2018 5:05 am

Dear Elizabeth,

Your post has surprised me for the amount of diversity you include in terms of cultures and celebrations. A part of your post that stood out to me was when you discussed “The Day Of The Dead” I feel like that is one of the days that brings a lot of people together as you stated in your post and it was a good and important topic to discuss about. Something else that I loved was how you discussed positively about the things that brings Oakland together as a community, many of us chose to write about the negative side of Oakland and I feel like you writing about what is good is really strong and smart of you to do. In general I really enjoyed reading your post it had a great hook, really made me want to read more and see what your opinion on this topic was. Thank you for sharing your post you’re a strong writer and I would be pleased to see what other great things you will write about. An additional question: what do you think Oakland would be like without these things to celebrate?

January 24, 2018 6:23 pm

Dear Eli,
I am interested about your post, “Oakland is Diverse”, because you talked about what brings Oakland together. I also liked how you talked specifically about 3 things that brings different communities together in Oakland. On esentance you wrote that stands out to me is: “To maintain a positive, diverse city it is important to continue having community events, and support for our teams and one another.” I think this is stood out to me because if we didnt have those events, I think Oakland and the community would be different. Thanks for your writing. I look foward to seeing what you write next, because people dont really talk about how how diverse the comminuty is and all the events that help keep the community close.

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