BCZ Community Development Corporation
The purpose of the Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation, a California nonprofit corporation founded in 2019, is to “innovate, incubate, inform and elevate community driven projects that allow our people and culture to “THRIVE”.
- Innovate: to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products
- Incubate: to maintain at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development.
- Inform: to communicate knowledge
- Elevate: to lift something up, to promote, or to boost
We work on behalf of and with the Black Community with a focus on current and legacy East Oakland residents, businesses, entrepreneurs, organizations and artists. Our work, however, is of benefit to the larger Oakland community particularly those most at risk of displacement here in Oakland. The barrier we face is the rising cost of living amidst stagnant or declining community wealth for legacy and current community members. The barriers to wealth building are tied to disproportionate levels of high unemployment, high underemployment, low business ownership and limited economic opportunity. This suppression reflects decades of public/private disinvestment and other systemic and institutional barriers.
Vision and Mission
A robust and vibrant renaissance in legacy Black communities; vibrant, thriving Black Arts, Cultural and Commercial areas in a thriving economy; an ecosystem anchored by Black Arts, Culture and Commerce; and collective power that assures our inalienable human right to love, health, wellness, belonging, power, safety and self- determination.
The mission of the Black Cultural Zone CDC is to unapologetically center Black arts, culture and economics as we collectively design, resource, transform and build collective power for our communities.
The long-term impact of the CDC’s Vision and Mission is the disruption of the community & economic development model where only limited benefits have accrued to the most vulnerable communities in our country, particularly legacy Black communities like East Oakland. As a Member: Partner and lead facilitator for the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative, we will support the collective generation, within the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone, of
- Ten or more Catalyst Hubs anchoring neighborhoods where there are no unsheltered residents.
- A mix of housing types for a range of income levels.
- A thriving Black arts scene anchored by restaurants, retailers & service providers. There will be a network of health, wellness, education & other support for a quality life.
- Hubs anchored in a Community Trust for generations to come.
- A strong economy where entrepreneurs & business owners thrive as the dollar circulates here for increasingly longer periods of time and local employment opportunities for residents.
- A zone with cooperatively owned businesses & housing where the employees & residents have a stake.
- A neighborhood where you will see business owners, artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, professionals, & first responders who live here.
- A Zone where we will connect with our Indigenous, Latinx, & other cultural communities to build coalitions where we can thrive – together. It will be a community where all have a vested interest.
- Community Ambassadors: Block by Block
Black Cultural Hub
Our Black Cultural hub Model will elevate Black Arts/Culture, Building, Community Wealth, Quality of Life and Community Healing within community cultural facilities. We are working with the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative, Allies and Supporters to build a model which will include community investment, cooperative ownership and collective management.
- Commercial Corridor Hub: We seek site control of commercial real estate assets on major commercial corridors in the heart of East Oakland for indoor and outdoor Black Cultural Hubs.
- Liberation Park: A 54,000 square foot lot in the heart of East Oakland is a site we are seeking site control to develop a mixed use commercial, cultural and community Black Cultural Zone Hub. Currently we utilize Liberation Park as a Resource Hub for Community Rapid Response including COVID19 Relief Programs, Community Events and Pop Ups and the AKOMA Outdoor Market. Our goal is to activate Liberation Park for Community, Commercial and Cultural Events in the interim as we seek permanent site control and the development of the permanent Hub. Support This Effort – Do The Right Thing Campaign
- Commercial and Community Space Activation: We seek to activate public and private spaces throughout East Oakland where Black people can connect, converse, collaborate and cooperate for collective action. Building out this model of space activation in East Oakland will allow us to deepen the network of supportive Black spaces in the Black Cultural Zone.
Black Cultural Commercial Corridors
We seek to develop commercial corridors in legacy Black communities, like East Oakland, which highlight our culture, our commerce and support a strong Black economy.
We must develop an economy where our dollars and resources circulate longer within our community and generate more investment into our community. This shift will create space where our people are able to start and grow their businesses and/or have access to economically sustainable and non-extractive workforce and career opportunities. We are anchoring this economic development goal with a range of programs and initiatives.
- COWRIE Currency Collective: Learn More
- Black Economy Network: Join The Network
- Black Business Briefcase: Request Business Technical Assistance
- AKOMA Outdoor Market: Become A Vendor
- Business Anti-Displacement
- Workforce and Career Development
Ahmed Ali Bob, Director
Community Affairs Lead, Square
Bernida Reagan, Director
Director of Community and Client Relations at Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services
Crystal (Cole) Matson, Secretary and Treasurer
Transactional Attorney, Entrepreneurship Advocate and Change Agent
Archivist + Strategy, The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation
George McDaniel, Director
Visionary Finance Principal, MCD Consulting Group
Greg Bridges, Chair
Radio Announcer / Producer at KCSM 91.1fm; KPFA 94.1fm; Reflections in Rhythm
Howard Oliver, Chair
Owner and Operator of East Bay Indoor Environmental LLC
- Aliyah Romero, COVID Communications Coordinator
- America Cadena, Community Ambassador
- Carolyn Johnson, Chief Executive Officer
- Caniya Johnson, Liberation Park Coordinator
- Cierra Brown, Community Ambassador
- De’Ana Brownfield, Arts and Culture Coordinator
- Ejigayehu Atlaw, Operations Coordinator
- Elise Cecaci, Community Development Coordinator
- Guillermo Carrillo, Operations Coordinator
- Ivey Williams, Economic Development Coordinator
- Jalen Leathers, CREW Lead and Community Ambassador
- Jerl Laws, Community Development Coordinator
- John Pope, CREW Lead and Community Ambassador
- K’Noah Cecaci, CREW Lead and Community Ambassador
- Nehanda Imara, Lead, Community Development Team
- Ndidi Love,Lead, Economic Development Team
- Satina Dunigan, Operations Coordinator
- Sean Tanner, Community Development Coordinator
- Tai’Zar Cannon, Community Ambassador