By Sheng Thao, Oakland City Council President Pro Tempore
On Tuesday I had the pleasure of joining Assemblymember Mia Bonta, Pastor Billy Dixon Jr., and community and faith leaders gathered at Arroyo Viejo Park to announce a $2 million investment into East Oakland parks that I secured in recent state budget allocations signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
This $2 million investment will help revitalize and celebrate parks serving some of Oakland’s most marginalized communities, including Arroyo Viejo Park, Tassafaronga Park, and Verdese Carter Park.
I know that East Oakland has experienced decades of systemic and environmental racism, and it is important that we invest equitably into our neighborhoods including our parks. As someone who lived in public housing and apartments my entire life, I know that parks are our front yard and backyard and a place for us to build community and find time in nature.
For years the city has promised renovations and investments into these parks, including several unfunded capital improvement projects, so I did what Oakland leaders are expected to do: find the money we need to fulfill these promises to East Oakland.
This is about getting Oakland back to basics. This is about clean and functional parks for our children, youth, and families to enjoy. This is about building stronger communities through activating safe public spaces we can all be proud of. This is about a cleaner, greener Oakland that is dedicated to healing communities impacted by environmental racism.
I know that many East Oakland residents have felt that their voices have not been heard, as if they have not been seen, but I am here to tell you that I see you and I hear you and this is just the beginning.
I am determined to bring more investments into parks, open space, clean air and water, good schools, job programs, affordable housing, safe streets and more to our communities most impacted by decades of underinvestment. This is about providing basic services to every Oakland neighborhood.
These investments will go toward many unfunded projects and needs in these parks and I look forward to working with the community to identify key areas of investment once the City accepts the grant awards. I am very thankful for the partnership of so many East Oaklanders who helped identify these needs with me and for Assemblymembers Mia Bonta and Buffy Wicks for being such strong partners in these efforts.
We can and will build an Oakland that works for everyone and this is just the beginning of that work.
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