Hello there! We are Oscar and Guayo, and we have been interning at the Freedom Archives since October 2013. We are two students from MetWest high school, which is out in Oakland, a short walk from Laney College. We are both seniors at MetWest, and in addition to our internship, are conducting our very own senior projects. Each senior project must choose and tackle an issue that we feel is important and create an end product which addresses that issue.
Our project is to create and maintain an online news source for youth in Oakland called Young Oakland. The issue we are trying to address is the lack of youth awareness and interest in both local and global news and issues. This is important because historically social movements have been fueled by the hope and passion of the youth. However, how can a young person engage social issues without being well informed?
Our time at the Freedom Archives has proven helpful with our project. One of the main things that we have learned is that things that happen today connect to events from the past. The Freedom Archives has a large collection of documents and audio materials about historical social movements and events. Since we’ve been here, we’ve both learned a lot of specific events in the past and their relevance today. This has expanded our perspective on society and provided us with important historical context. For instance in the case of Oscar Grant we see a connection to events of the past. We learned how police violence has historically been used to destabilize black and brown communities. After learning this we now realize that the case of Oscar Grant was not an isolated incident. In fact, these sorts of killings have been happening for years. We want to take what we learn here and share it with the rest of our community, more specifically with youth in Oakland.
We have partnered with Oakland Local; KDOL TV, and Chapter510 to create a student led news class at MetWest high school. The students learn the basics of journalism and news reporting. The skills the students acquire will then be applied to the creation of content for Young Oakland. So far our class has been a success. The class seems to be engaged as we gear up for the official launch!
Although our class takes place at MetWest, it does not mean that youth from other high schools or the city cannot contribute. We want young folk from all over Oakland to contribute to the site to in order to include our entire community. We chose the name Young Oakland because it is more inclusive to other youth rather than just MetWest students.
Head over to Young Oakland to read and learn more!
-Oscar and Guayo