[NOTE: Critical dates below to mark your calendars!]
Season’s Greetings Wood Street Allies, Friends, and Family,
It’s hard to believe that we are quickly approaching the end of this year. And what a year it has been! Because of the loving support and generosity that our friends and neighbors have bestowed upon us, we have been able to accomplish so much in 2023!
A Brief Year-In-Review
We started our year off with a bittersweet victory in court. Although initially slated to be evicted in January, our lawyers, supporters, and trusted advocates saw to it that we held down the fort just a little bit longer. We put up a good fight, but unfortunately our fight came to an end in April with 4 weeks of brutal, daily bombardment of trauma inflicted upon our community. We had to say goodbye to the flagship 1707 location. This was a trying time for us all, and we certainly could not have endured this trauma were it not for our brave and patient team of activists and advocates who were there daily from sun up to sun down and beyond.
We were hurt, but we knew we must keep fighting. We pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and rallied the Wood Street warriors to help us walk over the white tent to 2401 Wood Street, a smaller and temporary location a couple of blocks away. We knew that the occupied location would not last, but it was important to continue being a resource to our communities displaced by evictions.
As some might remember, our first event in the new location went off with flying colors! We hosted our first Wood Street Block Party/Resource Fair in June. The turnout was better than we could’ve imagined. It went over so well, we’ve decided to make it an annual event! We thank all those who showed up including: Homefulness, Lifelong, Punks with Lunch, Artists Building Community, Anti-Police Terror Project, Camp Resolution, QuArtz, Fat Love Band, Food Not Bombs, Isky the soup man, Love and Justice in the Streets, and Essential Food & Medicine to name a few. Thank you to all our volunteers for helping to set up, support and strike our event and to Freeway, our resident community member who organized and produced this amazing event.
Our accomplishments are not limited to hard play, though; We have been hard at work throughout the year, hosting weekly meetings and toiling away to earn our non-profit license. We even got the privilege of meeting with staff members of both Senator Skinner’s cabinet and Senator Bonta’s cabinet.
This was of course part of our Second Annual Homeless Helping Homeless Bike Ride to Sacramento. We had an even bigger turnout this year and made some lasting memories with our new and returning friends. We are grateful to Sunset Print Shop in Oakland for the T-shirt and bike flag printing!
We have also continued to build our new local chapter of the California Homeless Union with the help of Crystal Sanchez (CAMP Resolution) and Anthony Prince. Things are looking promising for us on the legal front and we couldn’t have done it without the endless efforts of Brigitte Nicoletti, and her amazing team at East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). We thank her for her tireless work in making sure our voices get heard.
Day of Remembrance (Day of the Dead – Día de los Muertos)
While we’ve celebrated many accomplishments this year, we have also experienced great loss. This year, we said goodbye to several of our Wood Street family members. We took time at the beginning of this past November, to gather and pay tribute to those who were taken from us too soon. We hosted our first Día de los Muertos celebration and honored our loved ones who have passed on from Wood Street and beyond. It was a time of healing, fellowship and reverence. We would like to thank Veronica Ramirez, especially, for helping us plan this event and for her beautiful contribution of the community altar and prayer ribbons with the names of those we wished to remember on our procession. And to Xochitl Bernadette for her shared experience and wisdom in the traditions and practices, as well as LeaJay for her heart wrenching vocal offerings.Thank you to all who showed up and banded together to support one another in this time of both mourning and remembrance. This is surely to be a yearly event as well as it is important to remember those who have been part of our community, part of our family–Who we remember live on in us.
Homefulness and Wood St Liberation Together
We also want to highlight and uplift our family at Homefulness who have been by our side through the hard times of the evictions and the celebrations of our communities at our parties. We wanna name the revolutionary work our Homefulness fam have done to support us in creating our communities mamafesto. This will hold the commitments of care we intend to honor and the liberatory visions of land-based solutions for intentional, self governed communities we are devoted to building in the world together to free all people’s and unsell Mama Earth.
What The Future Holds
We are hopeful moving into the new year as we continue the work of building humane and sustainable solutions along with our trusted network of supporters for our communities and beyond. These include drawing up plans and proposals for how vacant unused land and buildings can be used to house displaced communities as well as reimagined community resource centers built into where people live. These will be spaces where people can heal from years of systemic displacement and abuse at their own pace while having access to mental wellness support, healthcare, harm reduction, family reunification, document-ready support, legal aid, education, skill shares, and more.
Support This Good Work
As we approach the end of this very challenging year, with some pivotal successes, as mentioned above, we would like to ask for your support once again before we close out the year.
We would like to bring our general fundraising to its goal with only $6,000 more to raise. These funds will ensure that ALL of our community are cared for with some basic needs, as they arise in urgency:
- Food, water, and clothing
- Veterinary needs
- Vehicle repairs or parts
- Phones and phone bills
- Community clean up supplies
- Any costs related to eviction displacement that is not otherwise covered
- Christmas party for the community (Information below)
Once we meet our goal, we intend to close out this account and start the New Year with a fresh start and renewed intentions.
Please visit our GoFundMe and give what you can and please pass along to others who are looking to donate to a worthy community cause. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Announcing a special prize to the person that pushes the fundraiser over to 50k.
Art by Jaz Colibri, 2023
UPCOMING END-OF-YEAR ACTIONS!
Press Conference—Tuesday, Nov. 28th at 5:30pm, Oakland City Hall
Our Wood Street Community and our family at Homefulness will be hosting a press conference outside Oakland City Hall to demand an end to Colonial Occupation and Genocide and liberation of Mama Earth from Occupied Huichin (Oakland) to Palestine.
Public comment following Press Conference at the City Council meeting, 6pm
We have a pre-written statement we’ve split into 1-minute chunks for 24 volunteers to read. So we need people to sign on to take a minute and voice your support. Best case scenario, we have more than enough to get through the whole prepared statement. DM Jaz Colibri at 413/522-3116
Monday, December 4th – Friday, December 15th
Members of our Wood Street family who were displaced from 1707 Wood Street to the streets surrounding Raimondi Park are going to be forcefully evicted from around the park during this time (12/4-12/15). The shelter being offered is inaccessible to many leaving a majority of the community with no place to go and will likely need to shelter-in-place to protect their homes and belongings from being destroyed by the city.
We will need all hands-on-deck to support them through this ordeal. This includes folks prepared to guard people’s homes with cameras at-the-ready to document if the city tries to destroy or remove anything without residents’ consent. For those who are seeking to relocate we will need folks with vehicles who are down to help pull vehicles and/or relocate people’s belongings. Also needed are food and water drop offs for residents who will be busy protecting their homes from state violence.
Tuesday, December 12th – City Council meeting
We will need folks to show up in numbers to voice support for auditing the non-profit service providers who claim to be providing services to the houseless community that we have seen from our lived experience in their programs that they in fact do not provide. This will be a chance to hold these entities accountable for the misuse of houselessness support funds that has brought more harm to our communities and perpetuated the issue of houselessness.
Art by Jaz Colibri, 2023
ANNOUNCING OUR 4TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY!
Sunday, December 10th ; 2pm-5pm at 2601 Wood Street, Oakland, CA 94607
This has become a traditional event that we have hosted the last 4 years. This year we are getting multiple trees for a community tree decorating party. Six will be dedicated to the organizations and advocates who have been instrumental in keeping us uplifted and supported during these trying times. Bring a dish to share and ornaments to decorate the trees.
WOOD STREET IN THE MEDIA
|KQED ARTICLES / INTERVIEWS
|June 14, 2023
|(AUDIO) FORUM: Live From Wood Street: What’s Next for Oakland’s Unhoused After Northern California’s Largest Encampment Closed?—Alexis Madrigal
|May 19, 2023
|NEWS: ‘I Fight for My Community’: How 1 Woman Found Courage, Pride and Meaning at Wood Street Settlement (Jessica Fountaine) By Beth LaBerge, Erin Baldassari
|May 19, 2023
|(AUDIO) MORNING REPORT: The End Of Wood Street, Oakland’s Largest Settlement Of Unhoused People
|May 17, 2023
|We’re Lower Bottom, Bitches At Wood Street, a Bond No Bulldozer Can Destroy by Contributing Author Freeway
|POOR NEWS NETWORK w/ TINY
|April 5, 2023
|(AUDIO) THE BAY: The Last Residents of Oakland’s Wood Street Commons Ericka Cruz, Guevarra,Erin Baldassari, Alan Montecillo, Maria Esquinca
|April 10, 2023
|NEWS: Oakland Begins Evicting Unhoused Residents at Wood Street Commons—Erin Baldassari
|April 24, 2023
|Politrickster War on Wood St Commons with Freeway
Our Gratitude + Contact Information
We are so excited to see what lies ahead, as we continue to grow our community and fill its needs. We are so grateful for the friends, allies and partnerships we’ve made this past year, and we look forward to creating even more lasting relationships in the year ahead.
While this past year has been one of loss and struggle, it has also been one of growth and triumph. We couldn’t have succeeded in the countless ways we did, were it not for your tireless support.
Here’s to the New Year, with new possibilities! We’ll see you all in 2024!
Peace and Love,
The Wood Street Community
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT OUR RESIDENT LEADERS
Wood St. Email: email@example.com
John Janosko: 510/712-7639; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jaz Colibri: 413/522-3116; email@example.com
Freeway: 510/576-9770; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lamonté Ford: email@example.com