Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare.

Re-writing Shakespeare

Last night Civicorps hosted a powerful discussion on race and power, which provided information on the adaption of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice that will be set in modern Oakland and will explore the issue of police violence.

Led by San Francisco Shakespeare Festival instructors, a panel of local politicians answered tough questions and then listened to students share their thoughts around the four themes of the play: justice, revenge, mercy and forgiveness.

Our panelists included:

  • Brigitte Cook, West Oakland Community Liaison to Councilmember Lynette McElhaney
  • Rodney Brooks, Chief of Staff for County Supervisor Keith Carson
  • Sargent Holly Joshi, Chief of Staff for Oakland Police Department

The result was a powerful, insightful conversation.

Student reflections:

“A thing that stood out for me was that a lot of the things that the panelists said about themselves – I could relate to.”

“The the themes of the play: mercy, revenge, forgiveness, and justice — I go through each one every day on the streets.”

“I liked when one of the panelists said ‘We all have a voice, so we all have power.’ It made me see that we do have power.”

Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare / Civicorps

Now our students will work with a playwright to re-write the play and perform it on March 26th.

We hope to see you then for this incredible performance!


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Together, we made Oakland look good!

Thank you donors! Together, we made Oakland look good! / CivicorpsWe are so grateful for the generous donors who made gifts to support Civicorps. Together, we made Oakland look good!

Over the holidays we raised $54,476 dollars. With your support, Civicorps will serve over 100 young adults and provide:

1,600 hours of education, tailored to students’ individual needs,

1,200 hours of paid job training on real-world work contracts, and

600 hours of trauma-informed case counseling.

This in-depth, individualized support helped 43 students graduate with a high-school diploma in 2014 — we can’t wait to see how many students cross the stage in their cap and gown in 2015!

Because we provide graduates one year of college and career support, 82% of our graduates are still enrolled in college and/or employed one year post-graduation.

Thank you for being a part of this success!

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Processing through the pain, building hope

Processing Through The Pain

After the decision to not indict the officer that shot Mike Brown in Ferguson, Civicorps staff began preparing to have a day of thoughtful discussion with our students.

Today teachers will lead discussions about the history of friction between law enforcement and communities of color as well as discuss the grand jury decision and the responses by Mike Brown’s parents, President Obama, and the communities of Ferguson and Oakland.

Processing through the pain, building hope / Civicorps

Students will also explore their personal connections by sharing:

What are my feelings about the grand jury decision?

What do I hope for my community?

In addition, our case counselors will be on hand to help students work through any traumatic responses to the events in Ferguson.

As we learned from our Teach-In about the Trayvon Martin verdict, it is critical to provide a safe space for our students to process these events with caring staff, analyze the factors that create and enforce institutional racism, and then brainstorm ways that our youth can be powerful agents of change in their own community.

Together we can work to heal from this traumatic injustice and build a safer community for all.

Processing through the pain, building hope / Civicorps




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Health inequity through the lens of our students

As featured in KQED, Civicorps partnered with medical students at UCSF to create a photography project around the issues of health disparities.

Oakland Youth Focus On Neighborhood Health from KQED News on Vimeo.

Students took photos of different aspects of their communities related to health – whether it be positive elements such as the availability of a park or negative elements like the abundance of trash on sidewalks or the lack of healthy food options.

KQED photo project / Health inequity through the lens of our students / Civicorps

By having students take photos of what they see as relevant to their health as individuals and the impact it has on their larger community we hoped that they would see the different factors that can affect a healthy life.  They then wrote a reflection about their photos and how the photos intersected with their own personal experience living in Oakland.

Read the entire KQED piece here.

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Healing Trauma at a Personal + Community Level

On October 17th, Civicorps hosted a one-day health summit where guest speakers spoke to our students about different ways that we experience trauma and then each group brainstormed ways to cope with stressors at both a personal and community level.

Dr. Darlene Hall, our keynote speaker, spoke about inter-generational trauma. Afterwards, students attended two break-out sessions led by a Civicorps student leader and one of the following guest speakers.

  • Physical Health: Jerrell Peters and Brian Burrell, Young Invincibles
  • Psychological Trauma: Dania Sacks March, At the Intersection Wellness
  • Healthy Relationships: Mauro Sifuentes, Family Violence Law Center
  • Substance Abuse: Robert Faltisco, MA, CADCA
  • Trauma-Informed Care at Civicorps: Harris Cox, Mindfulness Coach

The student leader from each break-out session then presented their group’s brainstormed lists of:

  • Personal and community impacts of trauma, and
  • Tools and strategies to mitigate the negative effects of trauma.

Health Summit Presentation / Healing Trauma at a Personal + Community Level / Civicorps

Some student reflections from the summit were:

“I plan to take time to breathe, plan ahead, and stop stressing.”

“This Health Summit makes me want to eat healthier and to walk away when upset.”

“It showed me that health is really important to me, my family, and my community.”

“I am looking forward to changing my life for my own good.”

After the presentations, Civicorps hosted a resource fair where students could speak with local providers and access resources.

Health Fair / Health Summit Presentation / Healing Trauma at a Personal + Community Level / Civicorps

Each student received a travel hygiene kit for participating in the Health Summit, which was proudly sponsored by a grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board.To see more pictures from our Health Summit, check out our Facebook Page.

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Protecting Oakland from Forest Fires

Civicorps helps clear brush from Oakland Hills to prevent forest fires / Protecting Oakland from Forest FiresAs temperatures rise, so does the threat of forest fires. Read about how Civicorps is helping to protect Oakland from forest fires!

Bay Area Braces for Heat Wave; Fire Crews Wary
October 1, 2014
by Rick Hurd
Published by the Contra Costa Times

Photos: Volunteers, East Bay Civicorps, and Caltrans team up to manage dry vegetation in Oakland Hills
October 1, 2014

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