Saturday, July 7, 2012

Aries Jordan on West Oakland Elders Council

West Oakland Elders council photoshoot 
by Aries Jordan

In a society obsessed with staying forever getting old has become dreadful. However, for the distinguished men and women of the West Oakland Renaissance Elders Council, elder hood is celebrated and honored. The council meets once a month to address issues affecting Oakland residents and to envision a better future for the next generation. Council member Leonard Gardner stated, the intention behind the elders council “is to preserve and maintain the history of west Oakland, as well as share the wisdom and insight we have gained through life’s trials and tribulations.”

On June 22, 2012 members of the council gathered together at the historical Defremery park for a photo shoot, to make visible their presence within the community and promote the new TV show “West Oakland stories” .

The vision of having West Oakland natives tell their stories in their own words was a vision held by many, but brought to fruition by Francis and Ed Howard and endorsed by the council. The goal of West Oakland Stories is to share the stories of Oakland, CA regarding its Black population during the 40's 50's and 60's told by the people who lived there at that time.

In between photos the members, all west Oakland natives, reminisced about the good times they had and how the neighborhood has shaped who they are. When the council was asked what it means to accept elderhood? and their message to young people, the group responded candidly. They all agreed that being an elder is about passing the torch to the younger generation and sharing the wisdom they have gained over the years. Francis quoted Dr. Joe Marshalls quote “ The more you know! The more you owe!” which described his philosophy on elder hood. Marvin X passionately described the duty of an elder. “Elders have to recognize you have wisdom to share from your life, it is your duty and responsibility . If you fail to handle the responsibility you will suffer great chastisement as we see our youth chastising us now.”

The council also wanted our youth to know that they love them, respect them , honor them and want them to participate in making our community a better place.

In a world were youth and elders are becoming more disconnected the elders council has made a commitment “to embrace our youth” and share their wisdom.

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