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I am Oaklandish: WORK

The I Am Oaklandish campaign features true Oakland originals from all walks of life. They give our city its oddball spirit, its passion for justice, and its creative vigor. They lift us up with laughter, peace, nourishment, and authentic hard work. They make us proud to call this town our home. They are Oaklandish.

Ever since the Gold Rush days, Oakland has been an industrial powerhouse. Our cranes are famous for their heavy lifting — but so are we. There aren't many shortcuts in this town, so when people see a job that needs doing, they get to work. They may not run the city yet, but they definitely keep it running. They literally keep the lights on, the streets safe, and our hearts beating.

KAHLIL KARN is an electrician and founder of the Oakland Underground Film Festival. The Oakland Underground Film Festival is a showcase for independent and DIY films and projection-art. OAKUFF places special emphasis on local filmmakers, social justice, urban life, the environment and works that thrive outside of classic narrative filmmaking.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

I am an IBEW electrician, projectionist, and the director of the Oakland Underground Film Festival.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Bending large exposed conduit and disseminating fresh independent cinema in the most dynamic city in the U.S.

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

The culture and the character.

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

Being true to yourself. Celebrating difference.

DERRICK MUHAMMAD has been a longshoreman at the Port of Oakland for nearly eight years. He earned a law degree from UC Santa Cruz while raising his family and working the night shift unloading container ships. Derrick currently serves the City of Oakland as a Commissioner on the Citizens Police Review Board and serves in public affairs for the California Congress of Seniors.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

I am a longshoreman.

What's your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is working outdoors near the water.

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

I love the diversity, the rich history of this city.

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

Oaklandish means to have a unique style about something or someone that no other person or place has. Oaklandish is cool, brave, daring, mackish and trend setting. An example: Oakland has originated urban venacular that has gone nationwide such as "It's all good", or "player haters," or just "haters." This is where art, culture and social activism thrive.

GABRIELA RAMOS-PAMPLONA is a nurse at La Clinica de la Raza and also volunteers at Highland Hospital. La Clinica offers free and low-cost medical care to uninsured East Oakland residents. It is one of the largest community-based clinics in California, and tailors its services to the culturally and linguistically diverse communities of the East Bay.

Tell us what you do and why you do it.

I am a registered nurse. For as long as I could remember, I knew that I wanted to help people, make a difference, and make things better for the other person in need. I knew that as a nurse I could provide care to the patient as a whole (mind, body, and spirituality). And today, my goal is just simply to provide the best nursing care to all.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Making a difference, making someone feel better, and interacting with different people.

What do you love about Oakland that you can find anywhere?

It’s simple: Oakland is our own little world, a town with a rich history in the making because of the many diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultures. We are lucky to have a wide variety of food, music, clothes, etc. that makes us distinct and unique that you can’t find anywhere else.

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

To me, it means to represent Oakland, my community, and my culture. The people that live here in the Bay Area are all Oaklandish because no matter what our background — we might have different tastes, different colors, different shapes — ultimately we all fit in this dish, and that is what makes Oakland rich and Oaklandish.

MICHAEL WESTBROOKS delivers packages all over downtown Oakland. If you work or live in the neighborhood, you've probably seen him zipping around with his hand truck stacked sky-high with boxes. He has boundless energy, a positive attitude, and the Oakland charm it takes to rock those shorts all winter long.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

I'm a driver for UPS. I like to work with the public.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Interacting with customers.

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

The multiculture and diversity of the people in the City of Oakland.

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

Getting acquainted with new people.

KIRK HUMBLES JR. was born in Richmond, CA and raised in Oakland. He attended Emery High School and was a star baseball athlete. His interests involve spending time with family, sports, music, and hard work. He’s worked as a Security Ambassador in Downtown Oakland for almost 4 years and loves his job.

Tell us what you do, and why you do it.

My job title is Security Ambassador. My main objective is to be as visible and helpful as possible. I work with the Community Benefits District (CBD). This community was formed to bring in more businesses to the downtown and uptown Oakland areas. I patrol block by block eight hours Monday through Friday, as extra eyes and ears for local law enforcement.

What's your favorite part of your job?

I do my job for many reasons. If I had to list a favorite it would be to serve the people of Oakland in a positive and unforgettable way.

What do you love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else?

The thing I love about Oakland that you can't find anywhere else is the sideshows and watching people ghost ride their whip, and how much people from Oakland say "hella."

What does it mean to be Oaklandish?

Oaklandish means:
1) Born or raised in Oakland
2) Work or live in Oakland
3) Patronize local Oakland businesses
4) Die-hard A's, Raiders, or Warriors fan
5) An Oaklandish employee


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