I SING BECAUSE I'M FREE: THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA (in production)

The Blind Boys of Alabama met at the Talladega School for the Negro Deaf and Blind in the late 1930s - an era that condemned blacks as second-class citizens. The young boys formed a gospel quartet and went on the road. They performed throughout the Civil Rights Movement and 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech they are still performing- over 200 nights a year. They've won five Grammys, a Lifetime Achievement Award, four Gospel Music Association Awards, have been inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame, and have sung at the White House for three different presidents.

The film explores their journey from the blind school to present day, as it parallels what they witnessed and participated in during the shifting politics that characterized the United States through their seven decade career. 

OAKLAND RESIDENTS CELEBRATE THE INDIGENOUS ROOTS OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Drumming, singing, healing and peacemaking ceremonies teaching about ancient origins of restorative justice at the Lakeside Garden Center.

LIBBY SCHAAF CELEBRATES OAKLAND MAYORAL VICTORY: “AN AWESOME CITY”

While still un-official, mayor-elect Libby Schaaf was elated at her victory celebration at Lake Merritt, where she addressed press and supporters. The event concluded with Schaaf's departure inside a giant iron snail car with flaming antennas. 

WELCOME HOME PROJECT

The Welcome Home Project is an art exhibit and book showcasing photographs and stories of formerly incarcerated Alameda county residents who have turned their lives around for the better. Many of the people profiled now work as counselors and mentors to others leaving the prison system. The nonprofit organization Community Works spearheaded the project. The organization works to improve the impact of incarceration on individuals, families and communities. Micky Duxbury coordinated the project, interviewing and compiling each story, and documentary photographer and Community Works director Ruth Morgan took portraits of the 20 subjects. “This project is about people who have changed their lives after spending five to ten or more years in prison,” Morgan said. Most people stigmatize formerly incarcerated people, she said, and hearing their story and seeing their image allows people to put a human face on them and see their successful trajectories.

BIRDLAND

Mike Parayno racked up $46,000 in fines from the city of Berkeley. His last fine was for a party that never happened, “a future party,” said Parayno. “We got penalized for a future violation, six grand.” After years of hosting jazz concerts and parties at his house, he had had enough of the City of Berkeley and the fines they were slapping him with. He decided to move his jazz oasis to North Oakland. Birdland Jazzista Social Club, now located in the Longfellow neighborhoood, hosts weekly jazz concerts and Parayno plans to hold monthly street parties on a stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, hoping it will become known as a music district throughout the Bay Area. But, this vision doesn’t come without its challenges from neighborhood crime and a myriad of other factors.