The following are some of my thoughts toward the establishment of a comprehensive plan for the BAM District, downtown Oakland. Please let me know your thoughts. This project is bigger than any one person. Indeed, it must be a communal plan for the next fifty to one hundred years.
--Marvin X, Planner, BAM District, Oakland
1. Property in the BAM District placed in land trust to ensure longevity of district, thus not subject to developers and gentrification. District placed under immediate rent control.
2. Special residents in the BAM District housing receive life estate, e.g., chronic homeless, mentally ill, addicts in recovery, artists, senior citizens, recently released from incarceration and others with special needs.
3. Artists, business persons, vendors, meet to agree on principles of understanding for those in the district, e.g., a positive attitude must prevail at all times. Keep negativity to a minimum.
4. All persons in BAM District must attend peer group mental health sessions to recover from the addiction to white supremacy Type I and II.
5. Saturday African Market Day, including Farmer's Market and Arts & Crafts vendors. Street vendors during the week as well, as in San Francisco, Berkeley and elsewhere to enable economic stability for BAM artists and craft persons, entrepreneurs and youth to acquire business acumen.
6. Banners up immediately after declaration of BAM District, e.g., flag, icons of BAM and political heroes/sheroes, local, national and international, i.e., Pan African champions of freedom and justice.
7. A children's village at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza.
8. Educational tour of district for all Oakland students to learn the North American African contribution to Oakland and the world.
9. Budget for planning and operating district for five to ten years.
10. Immediate pilot project between Clay and Franklin along 14th to test project virtues and flaws of business persons, vendors, artists, educators, street mental health workers, security persons.
11. Tour guides.
12. Board of Directors and bylaws for operating district.
13. Establish BAM District as tourist site.
14. Music and art display and performance along the corridor.
15. Free speech area at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza and/or Lake Merritt amphitheatre.
16. In honor of Marvin X (Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland--Ishmael Reed) establish a permanent structure for Academy of da Corner at 14th and Broadway, Legba Square. Establish endowment fund so Marvin X can continue his mission of educating, inspiring and motivating Oakland youth and adults.
17. Every adult member of the BAM District must mentor at least one youth so the baton can be passed to them ASAP.
18. The BAM District should acquire and maintain a fresh spirit of radical consciousness, not one steeped in reactionary and/or conservative notions from the past. For sure, the elders should dispense their wisdom freely so youth are aware of our traditions and how to expand on it as we pass the baton to them. BAM Master Sun Ra said, "The children are the elders." Indeed, at two years old, my grandson said to me as we walked to Lake Merritt from Academy of da Corner, "Grandpa, you can't save the world, but I can!" At the Laney College BAM 50th Celebration this year, my daughter's comments went viral during the panel Black Arts/Black Power Babies, an inter-generational dialogue.
"We're ready and able, so pass the baton, Dad!"
Kujichagulia said, "Yes, I brainwashed my children to prevent them from acquiring the addiction to white supremacy Type II. Her daughter Taiwo speaks on BAM/Black Power Babies panel. Mother Kujichagulia is so proud!
photo Kenny Johnson
Hello Marvin X,Black Arts Culture and Business District - Planning Session
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