Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oakland Chinatown: May 27, 2008

Today, we went to Chinatown in downtown Oakland (marked with the "A"). It only took us a few minutes to get there on the bus, but it was so different from what we're used to! Some of us have never been before, even though we've lived in Oakland our entire lives.

We had new groups this time and got to choose which topic we explored. Our topics are still the same, though. Between the six groups, we looked at safety, aesthetics (how things look), health and accessibility, diversity, economics, and food.

Make sure you check out some of our personal blogs, too! Just click on the links to our blogs from the "contributors" section (below, right).

Oakland Chinatown: Diversity

By Delilah, Vanessa R., Jackie B. and Beatriz

On our way to Chinatown, we didn't see a lot of diversity. There was different kinds of Asians, but the most common that we saw were Chinese. Many of the older Asian people didn't speak that much English. They don't call it Chinatown for no reason!

When we walked by, people would look at us weird. This was probably because we were a different race from them, and we were all out during the school day. The economic differences in Chinatown really doesn't seem to be that great; everyone seems to be in the same class as everyone else in Chinatown (nobody is wealthy, but they're doing good enough to get by).

But, then again, there are some people in Chinatown that are very well off. There were a lot of very fancy cars parked in the street, and some people were dressed very nicely. We saw a lot of jewelry stores (3 on 1 block!); we saw a jade bracelet that was $4,000! And even though there are like 100 different markets in Chinatown, it seemed as though everyone of them was full of people buying things (which, of course, means that people have money to spend). But because so many of the stores, especially the clothing stores, get a lot of customers, it seemed that the prices are cheap without reducing the quality of the product.

Every restaurant and food shop had some different things on the menu, but it was pretty much all the same from store to store. There wasn't much diversity when it came to food. They had a lot the same resturants -- Chinese food, with some Veitnamese and Japanese places.

Oakland Chinatown: Aesthetics

By Jessica, Maria, Jackie P, and Valeria

Chinatown is a really different part of Oakland. The culture and beliefs there are different. The people there seem to mostly be busy, and have something to do all the time. The food was different. It was all mostly Chinese food, and other Asian foods. The older people didn’t really speak English. Walking down those streets was different because the people seem to be so different that the people in our neighborhood, different language, appearance, jobs and shopping lists. But the streets were just as dirty in Chinatown as they are in our neighborhood. We walked by a trash can and next to it there was a mess, with the trash spilling. It seemed like there wasn’t more space for garbage in the can, so they decided to throw the garbage next to it.

While walking around we looked at what types of cars the people drove. We noticed that they were mostly Hondas and Toyotas. The cars weren’t super nice but they weren’t old and beat up either. They were still in good condition and decent. This shows that they don’t have a lot of money but they seem like they aren’t living in poverty either.

While we were walking around trying to interview people, we saw a wall that was full of different colors. Guess what it was? Tagging! (Graffiti) Yes, we thought we were not going to see tagging because the people seem to like being there, and seem to take really good care of the place, but we were wrong. It was all over the place. Something else that we saw that was surprising was that the streets were dirty and cracked -- just like our neighborhood. Some things are all the same.

Oakland Chinatown: Health and Accessibility

By Miguel, Alejandro, Brian, and Juven

In Chinatown, we looked at how people with disabilities can access the city, and how people stay healthy.

What we learned about Chinatown was that there weren't enough places on the sidewalk for them to walk safely. Some of the sidewalks are hard to get around, there aren't that many ramps, mostly stairs and steps. We saw one may with one leg, and he was struggling to get up on the sidewalk before the crosswalk turned red. We think there should be more handicap rails not only in Chinatown but all over Oakland, because there are a lot of people that really can’t get on the sidewalk. There are also a lot of older people in Chinatown that can't get around easliy because of their canes and walkers.

There were not a lot of places in Chinatown to exercise or do any kind of physical activities, but there was a park where people might walk around. We did see people exercising in one school. We saw old people doing exercises in the park and in the school, doing aerobics and something called Tai Chi.

In Chinatown, we saw a lot of pharmacies and we tried to interview them, but they said no. But they seemed to take sickness seriously because there were a lot of pamphlets and things about staying healthy and people who worked there were answering a lot of questions for the people who walked in. Then, just a few blocks later, there were more pharmacies. They also had natural tea houses and places that sell traditional food so that people can stay healthy in ways that their culture tells them to.

In Chinatown, we also saw a lot of Health Clinics. We saw the Asian Health Center, with a lot of free information for people to take if they needed it. There was also a free clinic where people could go if they didn't have a lot of money. There was also a free clinic for Planned Parenthood and family advice.

Oakland Chinatown: Safety

By Daniela, Laura, Alejandra and Vanessa B.

In a 10-minute drive, we went from our school to Chinatown! Chinatown is a place that most of us have at least passed by, if not explored. As we got out of the bus and started walking, it felt pretty safe and calm. Everyone seemed to be very busy, walking fast through the streets and into local markets, restaurants and stores. We passed through a construction area, and as we walked in the actual street there were no cars that were driving too fast, or at least not fast enough to hit us.

Another aspect that gave it a sense of safety is that walking two streets up from Webster Street on Broadway, the police station is right there next to the freeway. They have their offices there, with all of their police cars and motorcycles. Because of this, it was very often that we saw a police car. That means that, if something is occurring in that area, they are able to arrive at the location even faster. In addition, because of the fact that cops are always at that area, we thought that might make it safer. If people know that there area lways cops around that area, maybe they are less likely to rob a place in Chinatown. We found out that the people who lived there didn't agree with us, though.

The place where we met up with our group, on Webster and 9th Street, had two security guards making sure that everything was okay. I honestly felt that Chinatown was very safe at that moment. After conducting interviews, we realized that although we didn’t witness any threats,s tore owners have witnessed a lot of robberies and others that live around that area don’t think that it is as safe as it can be.

One of the people we interviewed in Chinatown was a lady who worked in a clothing store. She was very nice, very sweet and talkative, and full of personality. She talked to us about how she does not feel very safe in Chinatown and in the Downtown Oakland area, especially after 7 p.m., because it isn’t secure enough. She said that she was very scared to walk around alone because of her past experiences and how she got robbed once. A man on a bike rolled up beside her and tried to snatch her purse, she tried to pull it back from him but he succeeded and took off with it. After that, she is terrified of walking around there at all, and says that she always goes home as early as possible, where she actually feels safe. When I asked her what she does to try to keep herself safe, she told me that she tries not to show that she has anything valuable on her, like her cellphone or money hanging out of her pocket, and she tries not to wear anything too flashy or expensive like “Coach purses or shoes” she said.

In Chinatown, we interviewed people about safety and if they think there community is safe or not. We interviewed a librarian about how he feels about this issue. We asked him if he's ever been robbed and he told us he has never been robbed but he has heard that the library has been robbed before. He told us what he does to prevent from getting robbed. Some of the advice he said was not to wear any expensive bags or anything that is expensive that people might want to take from you. He told us how homeless people go inthe library and sleep there. When a homeless person goes in the library they ask them to leave and if they refuse they call the security to take them out. They do this to prevent things from happening.

In Chinatown, we got to interview a police officer and a security about safety. The police officer said that he wasn't scared to walk alone at night because he always carries his weapon with him. He said that it does get dangerous at night at Chinatown. We asked him if he ever got robbed and he said he hasn't but that his family members have. He also said that valuable things shouldn't be left around because people will steal them. We also approached a security officer and when we asked him if we could interview him, and told him that the questions were about safety, and what did he do to keep people safe in Chinatown . He said he didn't know. That was weird because he’s a security officer, so he should know how to keep people safe and himself too. His excuse for not knowing these things was that he barely started that job but we think that that's no excuse.

Oakland Chinatown: Economics

By Claudia, Amairani, Jasmin and Ernesto

The stores that we saw around Chinatown are a lot of super markets, bakeries, Bubble Tea places and florists. They also have a lot of jewelry and Japanese and Chinese restaurants. Jobs we saw were mostly working in restaurants and small food stores, and there were a lot of restaurant owners, bakery owners, and much more.

In Chinatown, it seemed that there were people from different economic backgrounds. The people in Chinatown were often dressed professionally, but there were also people that were dressed with regular clothing - not all fancy. We also saw people wearing working clothes, some were all dirty and others were really clean. We saw many people driving nice cars, some were expensive, some were just reliable and well-kept. For example, most of our interviewees said they drove Hondas and Toyotas, and we also saw many people driving BMWs, Mercedes and Odysseys.

We interviewed people from Chinatown and a lot of people seemed to not want to talk about what they do in their spare time. A guy who worked in the bank said he likes to play tennis. They didn't really tell us what were the most popular things people in Chinatown do for fun, because they thought it was too personal a question.

In Chinatown, there are a lot of banks that give services in both Chinese and English. There was Bank of America and Wells Fargo branches right there, as well as a few others. It seemed like people around the area can go an open an account pretty easily, and we didn't see a lot of check-cashing places (like we do in Fruitvale). It is good for people to open an account to have interest in the money they would put in, and have a safe place to keep their money.

Oakland Chinatown: Food

By Yesenia, Cinthia, Lesley and Olivia

The restaurants in Chinatown were very different than what we had seen in our previous visits to the Fruitvale and Walnut Creek. Chinatown's restaurants had different varieties of Food. The most common foods that we saw there were rice, chicken and a lot of different type of seafood. In Fruitvale, we saw the same food, but cooked in different ways, mostly with Mexican spices.

As we walked through Chinatown, we saw many small markets, which sold vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood and dried foods. We also saw different bakeries and pastry places that sold really colorful cakes. There were also Bubble Tea places, which was a new thing for us! They are like milkshakes or smoothies with chewy balls of tapioca at the bottom. They give you a big straw to drink it through. We also bought some to try it. We decided they taste like regular smoothies, except with tapioca balls on the bottom, which they called "pearls". The balls didn't really have that much flavor. Some of us liked it, but some of us didn't like the chewiness of it.

Chinatown didn’t really have a diversity of food, because most of the places sold some kind of Chinese food. But it seemed that there is a lot of people around that enjoy the food there. Some food we saw was chow-mien and chicken that tasted sweet (sticky orange). Some food was sweet, sour, or savory. There were a lot of steamed buns, sweet breads, sandwiches (Vietnamese), and the breads in the bakeries were fresh and sweet too.

In Chinatown, there weren’t any fast food places like McDonald’s or Burger King. We think that is because Chinese people make their own food fresh and healthy, and they put a lot of ingredients that are tasty, and it's fast anyway. The people there didn't seem them overweight, and we think that is because the food had so much vegetables and other ingredients, and not a lot of unhealthy things in it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fruitvale: May 23, 2008

Today, we went to the Fruitvale district of Oakland (marked with the "A", near Fruitvale Avenue).
Fruitvale is our neighborhood, and most of us know the area very well. Still, we found out a lot of surprising things. We also changed our minds about a few things, and got some perspective on our last visit to Walnut Creek.

Fruitvale: Aesthetics

By Delilah, Vanessa R. and Beatriz

Today, while walking around Fruitvale, we were sure we were going to get lots of interviews for the fact that there were lots of people who were walking in Fruitvale. We didn’t expect to get rejected so many times, like we did. Some of the people who we asked to interview rejected us after we told them we would be recording them.

When we went to Fruitvale, it was very different from Walnut Creek because in Walnut Creek it was very clean. In Fruitvale, it was dirty. There was trash in the ground, tagging, some of the buildings were destroyed and they were almost falling apart. There were a lot of homeless people in the streets and most of them seemed drunk and wasted. There were also a lot of security guards around, and, in some of the places, there were pretty gardens and nice trees, flowers blooming and big tile mosaics on main meeting area.

Despite that, the Fruitvale district is a great place. They have a lot of store and food places. It is a very busy place and there are a lot of people to talk to. The BART (train) is right there, so are the buses. There is nice branch of the library, with a lot of different books in Spanish and English. One cool thing about the library is that they let the teens who visit there write on this big piece of paper, like graffiti. We think that people should visit the Fruitvale district in their spare time to get some good food.

Fruitvale: Diversity

By Daniela, Laura, Yesenia and Brian

Fruitvale is a place that we are used to. The majority of the students here have to drive pass it everyday when going to school, or even live there. When asking to interview people, we did get different types of reactions -- reactions that were unexpected.

In Walnut Creek, we thought that people were giving us bad reactions because we are a group of non-white minorities in their town, but now we don’t think that was the case. In Fruitvale, we were receiving rejection after rejection -- in our own hometown! We asked ourselves why. We blend in perfectly in that environment, so why were people not willing to talk to us? We realized that people have different reasons. Some were too busy working, others were scared of their boss and didn't want to take time to talk to us, others were afraid of getting deportated, and others just didn’t want to to be recorded. Although we did feel more comfortable at Fruitvale, we were getting similar reactions as we did in Walnut Creek. So we understood more about people in Walnut Creek, but we still felt more respected at Fruitvale.

On our way to Fruitvale we saw a lot of Latinos waiting in there usual corners to see if they could get hired as day laborers, maybe for construction. Most of them are always there in corners, close to the Goodwill store, waiting for cars to pull over and offer them a job for the day. They don't have work documents, so they can't get work except this way.

Walking a couple streets down we saw a group of African Americans outside of a shoe store. When we finally got to Fruitvale we saw a lot of Hispanics and African Americans, few Asians, and about three white people. The people who mainly worked in the Fruitvale area were Latinos and Asians. The people who worked in liquor stores and smoke shops were Arabs.

Before we started this project, we didn't pay attention about diversity in Fruitvale. Our opinion of diversity actually changed. Before, we assumed it was diverse because most of the people weren't white. But when we really took a look around the area, we saw that the majority were Hispanics, and that's not diverse. Through this project, we changed our minds and decided that diversity means about an equal amount of every race. At first, if we saw our own race, and no whites, then that was diverse to us. Our definition of diversity changed by simply walking down our own neighborhood.

The food diversity at Fruitvale is very different compared to our visit to Walnut Creek. Fruitvale is a community where there are more Mexican restaurants as well as some fast food places like Subway. On almost every corner, you see people selling Ice cream, fruit or things like that in order to earn some money for themselves or their family. In Walnut Creek, you don't see that kind of stuff. In Walnut Creek, you would hardly see restaurants that would sell Mexican food, or even people out in the streets trying to sell some kind of food. Here, at Fruitvale you will also see liquor stores, and at Walnut Creek you would hardy see liquor stores. Although the majority of places at Fruitvale would sale Mexican food, you will at least see one other place in where you would find other types of food.

Another thing that was very common in Fruitvale was that we saw alot of Latinos selling ice cream and fruit on thestreets at Fruitvale. This is normal to us, but we realized that this is something that you will never see in Walnut Creek. This also shows that there is not a lot of diversity in economical class in Fruitvale. Most are lowor maybe middle class, when in Walnut Creek everyone was wearing expensive suites and riding new cars. In comparison to Walnut Creek, there’s a big difference in Fruitvale not only in the diversity of race, but in diversity of economical circumstances, culture, environment, and much more. In Fruitvale there was not diversity in the type of jobs. Most of the jobs are in local stores, and small restaurants while in Walnut Creek you see industries ranging from Indian Food to Wine shops. Yes, wine!

Fruitvale: Health and Accessibility

By Jasmin, Cinthia, and Juven

Obesity: At Fruitvale, we could see a lot of obesity. Knowing the community, we think that the main cause for obesity is that people around there don't really know about how what you eat, and how much you eat makes you gain weight. People make unhealthy choices.

Accessibility: During our visit to Fruitvale, we could see that there is some accessibility for handicapped people, but not enough. Not all streets have ramps in the sidewalks for wheelchairs. How do they get around Fruitvale without going into the streets or getting run over?

Fast foods and farmers markets: While walking in the Fruitvale community, we could see that there was not enough farmers markets that sell organic food and healthy foods, like in Walnut Creek. One thing that we could see in the Fruitvale community was that there were more than 10 fast-food restaurants for example, McDonald’s, Jack In The Box, Pollo Loco, and fast taco restaurants.

Health stores: In the Fruitvale community, there are not a lot of Health Stores, but there are about three Health clinics that help people with no health insurance, or people who don't have a lot of money, but even though these clinics try to help, people don’t attend them a lot because they think they might pay a lot. There should be more information given to the community about being healthy, and it needs to be in Spanish and other languages.

Fruitvale: Food

By: Vanessa, Claudia, Miguel, and Amairani

The Fruitvale Community has a majority of Latino food, but there are other types of food to try. The majority of people seem eat what is common like McDonalds, Jack In The Box, Tacos from the taco trucks, and Chinese food.

There seemed to be only one Japanese restaurant in Fruitvale, and they are very new. The owners try to convince costumers to try their food, because they didn't seem to have a lot of business. The business owners accept that the locations of their restaurants aren’t that safe, but they still like their community and they just try ways to stay safe, like closing early. The customers would mostly be Hispanic, since that is the majority of people who live in the Fruitvale district. There was also a pastry shop that specialized in New Orleans-style pastries that is really popular.

When we asked the interviewees to tell us what would they miss if they left Oakland. The most common response was hamburgers and burritos. The prices in Fruitvale are affordable to anyone in this area, who are mostly low-income workers. Our research showed that Fruitvale is about 94% are Hispanics, 1% Caucasian, 3% African American, and 1% other. We were surprised about the percentage, but knew that Fruitvale is mostly Latino.

Fruitvale: Safety

By Jessica, Alejandro, Maria, and Lesley

The first impressions you have of Fruitvale in Oakland are negative. The buildings are not nice, and the streets are dirty. In Oakland, people feel there are a lot of safety problems. In some parts of town, a lot of people don't feel safe walking in these streets, especially at night. Like any big city, there is drug dealing, prostitution, theft, and murder.

While walking down International Boulevard towards the Fruitvale district, we saw about two or three police cars drive by. Even though there are police driving around, it doesn't feel like they're doing their job. It feels like that because when something really wrong is happening on the streets, they rarely stop to check to see if everything is okay. It also takes them a while to arrive at a scene when something has happened. In Fruitvale, we also saw some security guards at a lot of shops that we went to. They are there because it is not rare for a store to be robbed. They need that extra security to feel safer and to keep the robbers away.

In Fruitvale, we wanted to interview more people about the violence in Oakland. There is a fire department on Derby Street, and our teacher, Mr. Lee, told us that we should go to the fire department. We nocked on the door and a fire man came out. When we told him about our project, he invited us in so that we could interview the group of them. They were just sitting at the station doing little things, waiting for a call to go to a place where there was an emergency. We started to ask them questions, and sat and visited with them for about twenty minutes. The bell rang for them to go and help someone who had a drug overdose, because they needed the Paramedic there. Much later, when we were back at school at the end of the day, the firetruck pulled up in front of the school. They asked to talk to the principal, and they told him that they had met us, that we told them about our school, and they were impressed with us. They said that they wanted to work with our school next year to set up more internships for our school (we are a health and bioscience school), and even wanted to give a scholarship to us! The principal was very happy about it, and we saw that there are many good people in our city, and good things can happen, too.

In Oakland, in our neighborhoods, a lot of people know us. In Walnut Creek, it seemed like everyone didn't really work together or get to know each other. Something new we learned is that a lot of people in Fruitvale are concerned about their safety and how Fruitvale is a new target zone for robbing people's businesses. A lot of the business owners felt that the police don't care about them, and always try to ignore something that happens because there are so many problems to deal with. The lady we interviewed told us that in Walnut Creek the police come right away when they are called. That doesn't happen here. Maybe because we are a bigger city than Walnut Creek and don't have a lot of police officers to deal with everything. The positive side of Fruitvale, though, is that all the people that work there try to work together to prevent crime. Mostly all of the businesses all have security guards.

We think that, generally, the news just says the negative stuff about Oakland, and not really any good stuff. They should look at the positive side of Oakland because there aren't just bad things here. There are a lot of good things to experience in the East Bay.

Fruitvale: Economics

by Valeria, Jackie B., and Olivia

In the Fruitvale, you see a lot of people wearing really old and worn clothes; and for a lot of them, those are the clothes they go to work in. We met the owner of a liquor store today, and
she looked like she was dressed for bed in her baggy t-shirt, cut-off jean shorts, and flip-flops. Usually, that’s not how we'd picture the owner of a store. That’s a huge difference from all the business attire and polo shirts we saw in Walnut Creek the other day.

You can definitely see the difference in economic status when you compare the kinds of cars that people drive. Earlier, we posted the report on the lady in Walnut Creek that owns two Bentleys and a Mercedes. In Fruitvale, you’d be lucky to have a car that works at all! Usually the nicest car on the street is a used one! And people wonder why Oakland residents try to fix up their scrapper cars with 20in. rims and all that kind of crap.

Some jobs we saw were people working in different shops. Some people work in a shop where they sell different kinds of dresses; other people work selling Ice-cream (Paletero Man). We also saw some people that own their own stores, like one man that sells different types of snacks. He sells chips, drinks, cookies, doughnuts, water etc. There were two different stores where they sell fancy dresses for prom or Quinceañeras. A Quinceañera is a "sweet fifteen" birthday party for Latina girls. Obviously, they wouldn't have a lot of stores selling Quinceañera dresses in Walnut Creek, but here in Fruitvale there are a lot of Latinas, so there are a lot of Quinceañera dress stores. In those stores they also rent tuxedos for special occasions.

In Fruitvale, a lot of people sell on little carts; some sell churros, ice cream, tacos, fruit, or other snacks. In Fruitvale there are also jewelry shops, and restaurants. Most of the restaurants are Mexican food shops, but not all of them. We couldn't find any expensive restaurants. Almost all of the restaurants were for people who couldn't spend a lot of money.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Walnut Creek: Diversity

By: Daniela, Laura, Yesenia, and Brian

Walking in the streets of Walnut Creek for the first time, you realize things that others don’t. You try to find something that reminds you of home to make you feel more comfortable. But what if you can’t find anything or anyone that does? The majority of the pedestrians on California Blvd in Walnut Creek were Caucasian. After many people refused to be interviewed, we tried to find non-white minorities. Going into fancy stores and restaurants,we couldn’t find anyone that looked like us. What was very shocking to us was that, during our interviews, people would describe Walnut Creek as “very diverse", but for us it was the opposite. This is because we have different definitions on how diversity looks.

People’s reactions when they saw us were very different than back home in Oakland. There were people that were staring at us, as though they have never seen people like us. For us, it was not as comfortable to be there, and we had to step out of our own comfort zone and interview different people. When we went into a fancy clothing store, we asked one of the workers there if we could interview her. She didn’t reply she simply looked from one person to the other. Then she laughed and told us “NO!” with a rude attitude. It was as though to her, we were just a joke.

At Walnut Creek there was a sense of diversity in food, but not the type of diversity we are used to. There were restaurants of sushi, crepes, wine, and other American restaurants. In Oakland, we might not have as many fancy restaurants, but you can definitely find at least a taco truck, a Chinese restaurant, Vietnamese sandwiches and many more things that we are used to.

Walnut Creek: Aesthetics

Play Walnut Creek interviews on Aesthetics

By: Delilah, Beatriz, Olivia, Vanessa R.

While walking during a typical day on Walnut Creek's streets, we noticed that they have big water fountains, a lot of trees, and wide sidewalks with no cracks. It’s a whole different story in Oakland and in our community. When walking in East Oakland's streets, it seems that everything is the opposite of Walnut Creek. Oakland's sidewalks are all trashy, cracks all over the sidewalk, and we don’t even have trees our anything like that. On the other hand, Walnut Creeks streets are very clean and well taken care of.

In Walnut Creek, peoples' appearance were very fancy. Some wore business suits and expensive clothing. On each street, there were expensive restaurants, when you walked by people seemed to have a good time and were not worring about how expensive it was. They also had a very expensive jewelry shop called Tiffany's. In Walnut Creek, people drive very nice cars, and most of those cars looked like new cars. These cars were very clean, and were very well taken care of. Out of maybe ten cars, only one might have been crashed, scratched, or had the bumper coming off.

The overall appearance of Walnut Creek is that it is a very expensive and clean place. They have a lot of plazas and restaurants. If you do want to shop out there you should bring a good amount of money, maybe more than $100.

Walnut Creek: Health and Accessibility

By: Henry, Juven, Cinthia and Jasmin

Health stores: In Walnut Creek, there are lots of stores for keeping healthy. For example: sports stores, bicycle shops and vitamin shops. This shows that people in Walnut Creek work out and do outdoor activities.

Fast Food and Farmers' Markets: In Walnut Creek, the people have a lot of options for good food and vitamins, such as healthstores and farmers markets. Here in East Oakland, we rarely have farmers markets or health stores. The people in Walnut Creek don't seem to like to eat fast food because they know its not good for you.

Obesity and Physical Health: In comparison to Oakland, we didn't see much obesity in Walnut Creek. However, in Oakland there is. People that we interviewed don't really eat fast food and the people don't have a problem with obesity there. However, we didn't see any hospitals, but we did see an ambulance.

Accessibility: During our visit to Walnut Creek, we could see that there is lots of accessibility for people. For example, there were wheelchair ramps in every sidewalk we walked on and there was free bus transportation for people to go around between the BART (local train) and the downtown area.

Walnut Creek: Safety

Video of Walnut Creek interviews on Safety

By: Alejandro, Jessica, Maria, and Lesley

While walking on the streets of Walnut Creek, a lot of police cars could be seen driving around patrolling the city. We saw a lot more police cars and motorcycle cops than we usually would see here in Oakland. They were doing what they’re supposed to do: keeping the city safe. We tried to find a security guard in a bank that we could interview but it was hard. Every bank we went to there were none. We think they don’t even need a security guard because nothing ever happens. In Oakland, we have a security guard for our banks and even regular stores.

In Walnut Creek, we only saw one homeless man. That is a huge difference from Oakland. They are all over the city and they don’t do nothing to help them out with it. In Walnut Creek, we saw no prostitution, and people we interviewed said that they didn't have prostitution. But in Oakland, there are girls selling their bodies at twelve years old.

There seems to be almost no crime in Walnut Creek. We think some people are afraid of young people like us. In our group, Alejandro had an experierience where, when he went up to an old lady and he asked her if he could interview her, she was scared and grabbed her bag. She didn't want to talk to us.

We think people should feel safe out there in Walnut Creek, because walking in Walnut Creek felt different. One member of our group was walking around with their iPod, and we were not afraid of anybody trying to steal it. When walking in the streets of Oakland we have anything in our hands, like an iPod, because we are afraid someone might try to steal it.

Walnut Creek: Economics

By Valeria, Ernesto, and Jackie B.

On our trip to Walnut Creek we saw the kinds of cars people drive. We saw one lady who was driving a Bentley. She got out of her car and got into another Bentley. They were both hers! Then, she went to a Mercedes Benz. She had three cars. We filmed both of the cars she was driving. Two of our interviewees told us what kind of cars they drive. One had a Porsche, while the other had a hybrid. We also got footage of a Maserati. The people at Walnut Creek were all dressed really nice. They had ties and were dressed really professional. They seemed like they were business people who made a lot of money.

When you compare the sidewalks in Oakland to the sidewalks in Walnut Creek, there's a huge difference. In Walnut Creek, you won’t find any random cracks or potholes. The sidewalks are a lot more taken care of. You can see trees and even water fountains and benches. The sidewalks are also a lot wider than the ones in Oakland. Their sidewalks even have room to have little tables for the restaurants. This goes to show how much time and money is put into the care of the city.

In Walnut Creek, there are a lot of stores that are expensive. When we got there, the first thing we noticed were the fancy restaurants. Since they look really fancy they must be
expensive. There was a store where they sell baseball stuff autographed by the players. Also, when one of our classmates went to buy lunch, she told us that there was this one store where they wanted to sell her a slice of pizza for ten dollars. In McDonalds, the prices were the same as they are here in Oakland. Walnut Creek also had an Apple store, a Tiffany's, and a Coach store.

Walnut Creek: Food

By: Amairani, Vanessa B., Claudia and Miguel

The varieties of food at Walnut Creek are Mexican, Italian, French, Japanese, Korean, McDonalds, Burger King, Mediterranean, Greek, Thai, and Chinese food. They even had the "Walnut Creek Yacht Club" seafood restaurant. In restaurants we visted, some prices were affordable and some were not. At the crepe restaurant, it was not expensive. You could get something starting at $2-$6 dollars. In the Korean restaurant, the prices were starting at $4.95-$10 dollars and the catering company is starting at $9-$65 dollars. It depends on the type of food you order. The customers in the restaurants were mostly white and asian. Some looked like business people. Most of the employees in the restaurants were Latinos, and almost all of the owners of the restaurants we visted were also working there. Some also owned other restaurants around the area.

In Walnut Creek, there is a place called Crepes-to-go. In that restaurant, they sell French food. Our teachers, Mr. Lee and Mrs. Fitzgerald, encouraged us to try new food. When we arrived at the restaurant, we were looking at the menu and thought it was weird food. Finally, we decided to try crepes. We ordered "smoked turkey with cheese" and for desert we got "fresh strawberries with chocolate". We thought that we wouldn’t like it, but it was really good. Later, we went to a wine shop in Walnut Creek and we arrived just in time to see how they do the wine tasting. We saw the owner, Jeff, trying the wine and then spit it out into a bucket. We were surprised that Jeff spit it out, and we thought that he didn’t like the wine. After we talked to him, we realized that he spitting out the wine because he didn't want to get drunk.

Walnut Creek


On Tuesday, May 20, our class went to Walnut Creek. It's only 19.3 miles away from our school, but we noticed a lot of differences between our neighborhood and Walnut Creek.

Our class broke up into six groups and looked at Walnut Creek under six different perspectives: food, diversity, economics, health and accessibilty, safety, and aesthetics.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Jackie B.: My name is Jackie. I was born and raised in Oakland, Ca. My hobbies include reading, writing (sometimes), and, of course, drawing. I'm completely obsessed with the Japanese culture, and I hope to one day vist Japan. Music inspires my everyday life; I can't wake up properly without it. I live in East Oakland, and it's very...different. It's not as bad as everyone says it is (so, someone was shot across the street where I live, but I haven't been shot yet!). You're not going to get shot if you come and vist Oakland. If I, a half white/ half Mexican (but doesn't look it) girl, can survive in Oakland, then it can't be that bad.

Ernesto: Hi, my name is Ernesto. I was born in Oakland and grew up in Oakland. I like to travel to Mexico in my vacations I like to go to Nayarit which is close to Guadalajara. I like to hang out, party, travel, and go shopping. My favorite brand of clothing is Ecko Unlimited.

Olivia: I am currently enrolled in a class called “WHYs Up” where we are mainly focused in teaching people more about how our community is different and what makes it the way it is. We are all teenage students that have grown up in East Oakland. We are hoping to get a message across about how yourcommunity affects you in a certain ways, but also helps you learn things and maybe become a stronger person. I am really hoping that readers have a chance to learn from a different community than they are used to. Thank you for your time. See ya later.

Juven: Hi, my name is Juven and I like to play football and video games. I'm in this program called Why's Up and we do blogs about our community or about things we like or things that we don't like.

Miguel - Well my name is 'blank'. I am a junior. I have been coming to the same school for the last three years, next year I will graduate. Some people call me sumo. I am a bay area representive. I used to stay in the "murder dubbs", the 2500 block, until my mom passed away, She left her six children orphans, and I am one of the six. I pray for my mom to be in heaven, she loved God. I really miss her. Now we are staying with my godparents.

Daniela - My name is Daniela. I was born and raised in East Oakland. Whenever I leave the Bay, people ask me where I am from and they are frightened by the word "Oakland." Have you ever been shot before? Do you see people die everyday? These are questions everyone asks, and the answer is NO. I am here to show the world my views on The Town, Oakland.

Beatriz - Hello my name is Beatriz. I was born and raised in the city of Oakland, California. l like living in Oakland, although people say that Oakland is not the best city to live in. I am a junior in high school and can't believe i am almost a senior. I am a very nice person and consider myself very friendly. I like tot alk to everyone although sometimes I can be quite shy.

"Ralo": Please call me Ralo. I live in East Oakland. I like graffiti art and I'm very good at it. something about me is that im a very honest person but I dont really like to open up to other people. I like to play sports, like football and baseball.

Jasmine: Hello, my name is Jasmine and I am a junior in high school in Oakland California. I like to be with my friends and have fun, and I like to be responsible for own my stuff. I dedicate most of my time to school work. One of my favorite things to do at home is talk on thephone and text with friends.

Claudia: Hello my name is Claudia. I was born in Oakland C.A. I like to go shopping and spending time with my family. Next year I will be a senior. Something about me is that I am a nice person.

Maria: My name is Maria, but people call me Chore. I was born in East Oakland but I consider myself fully Michoacana. I like reading, writing, and singing.

Brian: Hi, my name is Brian. I like to go out and hang out with my friends but most of all I like to go to Mexico and visit my grandperents.

Laura: Hi, I'm Laura. I've been living in East Oakland all my life. Living in Oakland is a good thing to me because I've learned things about life that other people don't get to learn. I love listening to to music especially R&B. I like kikin it with my friends, especially best friend, Vanessa. I'm a very fun person, and I like walking around my block.

Jackie P.: Hi, my name is Jackie. I'm a senior. Im proud to say that I was born and raised in East Oakland and I don't plan to leave. I enjoy going to the movies and spending time with friends. I'm so proud of myself to have made it this far in life because graduating High School is not really an expectation for a latina. I've overcame many struggles tthroughout my life but I see them as just lessons learned!

Jessica: Hey, my name is Jessica. I was born and raised in Oakland, California. My favorite color is blue. Some of my hobbies include reading, listening to music, and using the computer. In the future, I’m interested in becoming an optometrist.

Vanessa R.: Hi, My name is Vanessa. I was born in Oakland. My favorite color is green. I like reading and discovering new things. In the future i want to be an archaeologist.

Amairani: My name is Amairani. I’m graduating this year. I've been living in Oakland for 17 years already, and this is a good community. Many people judge what Oakland is about, but they don’t know the history behind it. I like the community. It is more calm in some areas than others. I like the activities here, like museums and the science Exploratorium. Oakland is a diverse community in culture, celebrations, and food.

Alejandro: Hello My name is Alejandro. I live in East Oakland and I like to hang out with my friends. I like Rap and Hiphop. My favorite singers are Lil Wayne and Birdman. I like girls --some of them not all. Oakland is a great city and a city you would want to live in ... who cares about the homocide numbers. There is always something new to learn about life here.

Yesenia: Hi, my name is Yesenia. I was born in Oakland Ca, but my family is from Mexico. I enjoy hanging out my with friends. I am a really shy person, but will challenge myself to do new things. I've also tried overcoming all my struggles in order to acoomplish my goals. I feel that I'm someone who will be very succesful in the future.

Vanessa B.: Hey my name is Vanessa. I live in East Oakland. A lot of people think that it's a bad an ugly place, but there's a lot of pretty places and we are proud of staying here. Living in the ghetto part of Oakland means going through a lot of problems, but that makes you stronger and you learn things about life that other people don't. I like hip-pop singers like Lil Wayne, Pitbull and many other singers. I like having a lot of clothes and doing my own nails. My best friend is Laura.

Lesley: Hi, people! For those who don’t know me, my name is "shorty". When I got to this school ,they started to call me shorty because am tiny. Next year, I will be graduating from high school. For this class, we are going to do a video about our community, talking about what is good and what is bad, and we are going to compare it to other cities. I think we are going present it to the whole school.