Saturday, June 22, 2019


Golden Gate Branch Library

5606 San Pablo Avenue

Oakland CA

"If you don’t do anything, anything can happen."

Wise words from local legend Saturu Ned. An original Black Panther Party member, Brother Saturu shared his knowledge and experience about ways to support community. His definition of 'neighbor' is expansive...could be the person who lives on your block, could be someone across town. His message is clear: we are all in this together.

Neighbor and musician Shay, aka 'Cry Baby', opened the workshop by sharing her powerful original song. And thanks to Phat Beets food justice program, everyone was well-fed with organic fruit and seasonal drinks.

Brother Saturu showed archival footage featuring Huey Newton and many of the Black Panther’s self-help programs for 'survival pending revolution'. He inspired this Saturday afternoon crowd with stories about the Oakland Community School, where he taught for a time. This experimental school, like all of their programs, was rooted in community and supported by the community. It received no outside funding from loans or grants. The school thrived through high parental involvement and a "feeling of constant love."  Kids were empowered by learner-driven projects as well as youth-led restorative justice. OCS grew out of a need for black students to have a safe place to learn and grow.

The Oakland Community School described by Ericka Huggins, one of the school’s directors: "The students remember starting the day with a ten minute exercise program. Breakfast, followed by a short, school wide interactive check-in preceded the morning classes. A nutritious lunch at midday and ten minutes of meditation in the early afternoon was followed by classes for the older children and rest for the smaller ones. Dinner concluded the day and the school vans transported the children who could not walk to their homes."

Like all Black Panther survival programs, this innovative school’s practice of providing breakfast for students led to the nation’s requirement to provide breakfast for students in public schools.