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We are Oaklandish: Luis Montoya on healing and being raised by Oakland

My experience with Oakland has always been a love-hate relationship. I found myself leaning towards the violence and negativity the surrounded this city back in the early 2000s. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but at the time it was a survival tactic. Once I grew to an age I could be more conscientious of my actions, the love and healing came to me. I began my healing process here in Oakland, to rid the negativity in my mind and around me. Slowly but surely, everything started to make sense. I was no longer clouded by anger, hatred nor hostility. I realized, had I not been through the negative side of life, I wouldn’t have appreciated what would come after. Oakland raised me in a way, and I will carry it with me everywhere I go. All the folks that came into my life in this city helped nourish and support me but also, some who taught me valuable lessons. I won’t forget my experiences here and I am greatly thankful for them; Oakland is a part of me.

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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