Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Letter from Oakland City Council President, Lynette McElhaney

Oakland Black Artists support the Black Arts Movement Business District. This pic was taken shortly before the full City Council voted to establish the BAM Business District. 1/19/16

photo Adam Turner

Hello all:

I want to appreciate all of the culture keepers for supporting this effort and expanding upon this concept.  I cannot tell you how gratified I am that what I once believed to be a personal idea was actually me tapping into the wellspring of passion and love for this concept that long predates my arrival on the council.  I am humbled.  Spirit is all-knowing and all-wise and I am truly honored to be in a position to help fulfill - or at least facilitate - the fulfillment of this community desire.

While I appreciate everyone's contributions, I want to extend a very special note of thanks to Joyce Gordon (an absolute gem), Duane Deterville (whose cogent presentation helped me see the importance and power of linking this effort to historic and global movements), Paul Cobb (whose deep knowledge of people and place fully expanded my appreciation of the corridor) and Marvin X, who, without doubt, has been the most vocal proponent for the celebration of the Black Arts movement and the claiming of a space to honor the contributions of Black artists.  I also want to thank the business owners Craig, Geoffrey, Oscar, Corey and Veronica and city staff for their insight and support.

This is just the first step.  We have a lot more work to do.  Looking forward to expanding the team and finding ways to fund the vision.

With deep Oakland-love, Lynette

We are happy to announce that today, January 12, 2016,  a committee of Oakland City Council members passed the resolution designating the 14th Street corridor as the Black Arts Movement Business District. The resolution was introduced by Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney. For their vote to officially establish the name Black Arts Movement Business District, they receive the BAM Gold Fist Award for Excellence:

Council President Lynette McElhaney, Marvin X, Duane Deterville; Middle row: Gerry Garzon (Oakland Public Library), Tureeda Mikell, Jaenal Peterson, Aries Jordan, David McKelvey, Eric Murphy (Joyce Gordon Gallery); Back row: Eric Arnold, Kwesi Wilkerson, Charles Johnson, Alicia Parker (Oakland Planning Department), Shomari Carter (Supervisor Keith Carson's Office). Far right: Elder Paul Cobb, Publisher, Oakland Post News Group.
For more information on the Black Arts Movement Business District, stay tuned to

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