East Oakland BCZ Collaborative
The Black Cultural Zone, conceived in 2014, addresses the disparate impact that decades of disinvestment in East Oakland and more recent displacement of Black People and Black Businesses from their legacy communities here in Oakland by centering Black Arts and Culture within a community development framework. The East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative (the “Collaborative”) was formed by the Eastside Arts Alliance and several non-profit organizations located in East Oakland to develop the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone. The Collaborative designated the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone as the 50 square blocks from High Street to the San Leandro Border and focused on implementing arts and cultural strategies and engaging artists and community members in art activism.
The Collaborative represents:
A coalition of Black residents, leaders, organizers and advocates formed to keep culture and place for Black folks in East Oakland.
Organizations and Businesses that support our Purpose and Values and are funded to work with the Collaborative in one or more strategic disciplines.
Our Supporters and Friends
Entities and individuals that support our Purpose and Values and invest time, treasure, and expertise in support of the Black Cultural Zone CDC.
To innovate, incubate, inform and elevate community driven projects that allow our people and culture to thrive.
Our Core Value
Arts & Cultural Preservation and Innovation
- People: We are unapologetically & deliberately & joyfully Black.
- Culture: We preserve and uplift our customs, arts, social institutions and other manifestations of our collective achievements.
- Love and Unity: We respect Black diversity in all its beauty, differences and expressions. We are devoted to equitable intergenerational participation and deeply bonded with each other from Africa throughout the Diaspora.
- Creativity: We elevate self and community expression through art, imagination, innovation and intellect.
Our Core Strategies
We “center” our core value within three strategic initiative areas:
- Place Keeping: We hold and elevate our presence here. Strategies: Anti-Displacement programs, activities and advocacy, activation of vacant and underutilized Space Activation, Pop-up to Permanent hubs and villages, Black Cultural Zone Cultural Hub(s) and Neighborhood Development
- A Strong Economy: We have robust and cooperative production and distribution which supports our collective sufficiency. Strategies: Wealth Building and Workforce Development programs, activities and advocacy.
- Quality of Life: We create and maintain an environment where we thrive — mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. We ensure that all have good health, housing, education, income and options. Strategies: Health and Wellness, Education, Welfare and Safety, and Environmental programs, activities and advocacy.
We believe when Black people are free, all are free. Our vision of freedom is grounded in our collective self-determination and the creation of political, social, cultural and economic liberation. These principles are informed by the ideals and platforms of our historic Black consciousness movements.
We invite you to explore these questions with us:
- What does it mean to love and embrace Black culture?
- What does it mean to love and support Black people?
- We Invite You To EMBRACE our purpose, SUPPORT our collaborative, HONOR our values and INVEST in our vision.
Meet Our Partners
Black Led Organizations and Businesses that support our Purpose and Values and are funded, or are seeking funding, to work with the Collaborative in one or more work groups.
History of the Black Cultural Zone
In 2013 – 2014, the City of Oakland and the Oakland Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative (OSNI) Collaborative led by community partners like Allen Temple Baptist Church, CJJC, East Bay Asian Youth Center, EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA), TransForm, and current leaders of Just Cities (formerly Dellums Institute for Social Justice/Just Cities), organized over 50 community and faith-based organizations, public agencies, national CDFIs, foundations, and banks to harness our collective power for the Corridor’s revitalization. A major priority that came out of this Collaborative was the development of a Black Culture Zone (BCZ) in recognition of the disparate impact that decades of disinvestment in legacy Black communities like East Oakland and what the growing displacement trend portended for the Black community.
From 2014 – 2017, the vision for the Black Culture Zone grew organically from a reflection on historical power movements and the on the ground knowledge gleaned from decades of collective community service. The East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative (Collaborative), led by EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA) and represented by Elena Serrano and Greg Morozumi, was formed.
In 2017, ESAA, joined by the Dellum Institute for Social Justice/Just Cities, represented by Margaretta Lin, John Jones III and Ndidi Okwelogu, led the preparation of a draft Business Plan for a Black Cultural Zone Hub. In addition, the East Oakland Neighborhoods Initiative (EONI) was created to partner on the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Planning Grant with East Oakland Building Healthy Communities, Hope Collaborative and OCAC as the three lead co-applicants, joined by the City of Oakland and 13 community based organizations, including East Oakland Collective, represented by Candice Elder, Marquita”Keta” Price and Prescott Reavis. The final EONI Community Plan released in October 2019, driven by the community’s concerns and priorities, identified the establishment of a Black Cultural Zone with incubator spaces for emerging entrepreneurs, the transformation of vacant buildings into community assets and the establishment of a community development corporation as three of several top tier strategies to achieve these goals. These, and other, EONI Community Plan strategies are cornerstones of our Purpose and Goals for the Black Cultural Zone CDC.
In 2018, the Collaborative focused on implementing arts and cultural strategies, engaging artists and community members in art activism. Allen Temple Health and Social Services, represented by Gloria Crowell, joined the Collaborative.
In November 2019, the Collaborative incorporated the Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation as a California Nonprofit and expanded the Collaborative Partners.
Today, the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative continues its work to develop the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone.
- Marsha Murrington, FUSE Fellow, City of Oakland, California
- Donald Gilmore, Executive Director of the Richmond Community Housing Development Corporation
- Ms. Sherry
- Stuart Flashman, a Board director of the Rockridge Community Planning Council (RCPC).
- Causa Justa Just Cause
- Eddie J. Walker
- Fred MacKay
- Larry Taylor
- Len Turner
- Lynette Lee
- East Bay Community Foundation
- The San Francisco Foundation
- The California Endowment
- Community Vision, formerly known as the Northern California Community Loan Fund
In September 2019, the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative organized a Steering Committee to chart the path towards establishing a nonprofit community development corporation including the development of summary plans for the CDC.
2019 Steering Committee
- Bernida Regan, Esq.
- Crystal Cole Matson
- Dave Peters
- George McDaniel
- June Grant
- Linda Grant
- Marian Johnson
- Judy Singharath, representing Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services
- Markese Bryant, representing Remix
- Greg Jackson Partnerships Director, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Collective
- Marsha Murrington
- Noni Sessions Director, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Collective
- Regina Jackson East Oakland Youth Development Center
- Selena Wilson East Oakland Youth Development Center
- Randolph Belle RBA Creative
- Martin White Allen Temple Community Development Corporation
- Binta Ayofemi GROUND + SOUL
In November 2019, the Collaborative incorporated the Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation as a California Nonprofit and expanded the Collaborative Partners
Today — the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative continues its work to develop the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone.