Among all the news and discussions about this year’s mayoral elections in Oakland, there has been some underlying skepticism about the propositions and candidates with underlying questions raised by citizens, “What does it matter? Oakland is a ghetto that cannot be changed. Look at all the bad things that happen here.” For instance, in the Oct. 10 mayoral debate in an East Oakland church, several questions were raised about whether lives in East Oakland mattered to these candidates.
So, what does that say to us as Mills students?
The Campanil acknowledges that these negative perceptions of the city we live in make a great impact on our social and daily lives outside the Mills bubble. Some students have a fear or paranoia to even leave campus because of Oakland’s negative reputation. If some students were to leave campus, they go to Berkeley or San Francisco for the things they want to do instead of seeing what Oakland could offer them. In fact, on the Mills home page, it says our school is in the San Francisco Bay Area, and even with the mention of our location, the page appears to mislead viewers and prospective students by stating that “Here on the Mills campus, it’s another world entirely.” But what about the world outside of it?
We seem to forget that every city has crime. In fact, the crime reports for Oakland can be a bit deceptive, not taking into account whether those crimes are done by residents or visitors of Oakland, the reasons for why crime has been happening and many other factors. People only see the numbers and percentages of those statistics and reports, not the cycle of violence and pessimism that comes along with them.
It is because of those crime reports in media and statistics, many of those in and outside of Oakland can only see the city as a hopeless cause. Some do not pay attention to the diversity, the history or even the potential that Oakland has to give.
In order for us to make a change for the city we choose to live in, The Campanil sees that students should take a part of the voting process and help make change and reform in Oakland. At the same time, we recognize the conundrums that students deal with in regards to voting, registration and its process. There are students that are registered to vote, but in the respective counties or states they moved from. There are students that are registered to vote in Alameda County, but they are either unfamiliar with or unsure about the policies, measures and candidates on the ballots.
As a student newspaper, we feel that we should make the Mills community aware about what is happening with the mayoral elections, debates, propositions and so forth. We have a responsibility to cover these matters to show students that there is not only a community here, but that we are a part of the community of Oakland. We want to advocate that it is okay to be a part of Oakland and love it without any fear. We chose to attend this institution, hence becoming a part of Oakland.