Growing up in Oakland is a complex experience. I'm sure that everyone’s who has experienced an Oakland childhood can relate to this statement in one way or another.
The neighborhood I grew up in had a lot of gang related crime and at times the problem was dire. Yet, the families in my community were resilient. We stuck through it together, and were there for each other, especially in the worst moments.
My community in East Oakland is strong and vibrant. It grew from within because everyone invited everyone else in the neighborhood to family parties, and we cooked dinner for each other when times were especially tough. We embraced each other when we needed support and looked out for one another however we could.
My family, like many of our neighbors, have lived in our neighborhood for over three decades, and I couldn't be more grateful for that.
The feeling of of community I get from belonging to a tight knit group of people has also been my experience working at Oaklandish. I have met life long friends here that I will forever cherish. I can confide in them if I have a personal problem and we love to go out to party. Everyone who works here loves Oakland as much as I do, and we all want to represent the town as best as we can while celebrating our different backgrounds.
Just because you're from Oakland, doesn't mean you are a lost cause. I strive everyday to prove this to the doubters."
Marcos Montoya, is 23 and was born and raised in East Oakland. He is grateful for his strong and vibrant community and loves his job at Oaklandish.
Oakland is diverse and Oakland is proud. 'We Are Oaklandish' is a storytelling project created to highlight just that.
These are stories that shed light on the different experiences, memories, and opinions of the people in the city we all love. They are people who 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.
Read more: We Are Oaklandish