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We are Oaklandish: Our own Marcos Montoya talks growing up in the East

"My name is Marcos Montoya, I'm 23 and I was born and raised in East Oakland. Growing up here in Oakland has been a complex experience. I'm sure we can relate to that in some way or another. The neighborhood I grew up in experienced much gang related crime and at times was dire. Yet, the families there were resilient. We stuck through and were there for each other through the worst. Our community within grew. From inviting everyone in the neighborhood to family parties, to cooking dinner for each other when times were tougher. We all embraced each other and looked out for one another. My family, among others, have lived in the very same neighborhood for well over 30 years and I couldn't be more grateful for that. That same sense of community in a tight knit group of people has also been a staple of my experience with Oaklandish. I have met life long friends here that I will forever cherish. I can confide into them if I have any personal problems and right after we can all go out and party! Everyone here has the same love for Oakland as I do and we want to represent the town as best as we can with all our different backgrounds. Just because you're from Oakland, doesn't mean you are a lost cause. I strive everyday to prove that to the doubters."

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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