Why I Love Oakland

 

Lake MerrittI LOVE Oakland.

It’s not about the Warriors win this past year. Though that’s super wonderful.

It’s not about the recent hipster’ness of this town and it’s (long overdue) overnight popularity.

It’s not because it’s the abused and so-called ugly step sister of the San Francisco.

It’s because when I take my dog out for a walk, I’m asked by a small group of women sitting by the Lake about my opinion on race relations. Specifically, how do I feel when I’m approached by a group of blacks. It’s worth noting that the group asking me this is an inquiring group of African American women.

We had a rich dialogue that I think was good for all involved. I learned something, the woman who initiated the conversation learned something, etc.

That we can have this quality of dialogue between strangers on a topic that is historically and to date, emotionally charged, (rightfully so), is the real gift. The opportunity hidden in the everyday.

THIS is what makes me stay in this country – free speech and it’s potential for quality dialogue. I’m grateful for the leaders who had the foresight to create a structure that could, however imperfectly, create the conditions for encounters of the sort I experienced today.

There is SO much more than consumerism (and being a consumer) possible in this amazing country.

(note: Original post was in Facebook earlier in the year, 2015)