We Are Oaklandish: Maria Cuatlacuatl
What is your relationship with Oakland?
M: My relationship with Oakland is powerful. I first visited Oakland at the age of four. It was the first time I was reunited with my family. I still remember the first location I ever saw in Oakland. Now I look back and smile, thinking of how many emotions Oakland has brought and the many memories I have growing up here. Oakland is now home to my family and me.
What makes Oakland unique from any other place in the world?
M: Something that makes Oakland unique from any other place in the world is everything. There is no other place like Oakland. Oakland is unique.
How were you introduced to Oaklandish?
M: The way I was introduced to Oaklandish was through Indeed. I was searching for a job during the pandemic. I was going through a hard time in my life, as I’m pretty sure all of us were. Luckily, I was called in for an interview and was hired almost immediately. I was glad to be called in for that interview because I was introduced to a fantastic company with values centered around community.
What is your favorite Oaklandish design, and/or merch?
M: My favorite Oaklandish design is “Frequency” by Joshua Mays.
Oakland is known for its food scene, where is your favorite place to eat in the town?
M: My favorite place to eat in town wouldn’t be just one specific location. There are many delicious flavors from all different parts of the world. Which makes it hard to just choose one exact place.
How has Oakland shaped your idea of community?
M: Oakland has shaped my idea of community by seeing everyone come together and fight for the same thing. People in Oakland share similar values of equality, justice, and standing with the community. It has shown me that community is a significant factor in our day-to-day lives. Oakland has taught me that people are willing to fight with you and support one another.
What is something that must be experienced in Oakland?
M: Something that must be experienced in Oakland is visiting some of the historical landmarks, scenic views, and the food.
Have you ever met any Oakland/Bay Area legends? Who were they?
M: Yes, I have met legends and fantastic teachers who continue to push every student to feel motivated and capable. As a child whose first language wasn’t English, adjusting to a new environment and language was very complicated. There were many times I wanted to quit. Not all teachers gave up on me. They pushed us who couldn’t and have now made a significant impact on my life.
If you could give the City of Oakland one thing, what would it be?
M: If I could give the city of Oakland one thing it would be more housing support. Many people are suffering from losing their homes because of how expensive housing is out here.
A song that makes you think of Oakland, no matter where you are in the world.
M: A song that makes you think of Oakland no matter where I am in the world would have to be any song from Too $hort.
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