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We are Oaklandish: Anna shares how her community tackled deficiency growing up

My name is Anna Rodriguez, I am 24 and was born in LA and raised in Oakland. EAST Oakland to be exact! Oakland has taught me so much and still continues to do so everyday. It’s taught me to appreciate everything, no matter how big or small. My town is extremely beautiful in every sense of the word, but our town folk struggle nonetheless. Our youth struggle to break stereotypes and statistics, while parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Our teachers struggle to provide our youth with an adequate education while being extremely low funded. I am a Fremont High School alumni and I experienced low funding first hand. Our principal would at times speak to my peers and I over the intercom explaining how we were extremely low on supplies. Items such as paper and pencils, items that many other schools have an abundance of. It was in moments such as those that we all got together as a school and carried out small acts such as buying paper or pencils knowing it was for the greater good. Oaklandish realizes that our town folk struggle which is why we have annual OUSD tee giveaways, innovators program, grants and donations. Working for Oaklandish is fulfilling in many ways, my favorite being that I am working towards the betterment of my town. Secondly because my family has extended with my employment at Oaklandish. They are my Oak Fam, many of them will be a part of my life forever. I have grown so close to many of my coworkers and will forever be grateful to the friendships and opportunities that Oaklandish has blessed me with. Oaklandish is OAKLAND! Oakland raises unconventional leaders who obtain resilience in the face of adversity. The Town’s energy is immutable and extraordinarily contagious, it’s the land of the hyphy.

Oakland is diverse and Oakland is proud. We are Oaklandish is a photography project created to highlight just that. This body of portraits and stories sheds light on the different experiences, memories and opinions from the people in the city we love. Stay tuned to hear the voices of our staff, local artists, makers and anyone and everyone from The Town. 

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