Watch the 2021 sessions

In June 2020, right in the middle of a pandemic, The Oaklandside made its debut — a newsroom for and about Oakland, powered by Cityside Journalism Initiative, the nonprofit organization behind Berkeley’s local news outlet, Berkeleyside. 

One year later, to celebrate its first birthday, The Oaklandside put on The Oaklandside Live-ish — three afternoons of dynamic virtual programming that tackled the big issues that shape Oakland, from housing and gun violence, through youth activism and what lies beneath Lake Merritt. There were also musical performances by Fantastic Negrito, Kev Choice, Caroline Chung, and a behind-the-scenes conversation with the newsroom editors and reporters.

The presenting sponsor of Oaklandside Live-ish was Blue Shield of California. Other sponsors include The Warriors Community Foundation, The Oakland A’s, Mechanics Bank, The Port of Oakland, St. George Spirits, Bridge Bank, Clif Family Foundation, and OCHO Candy.


Tuesday, June 15 WATCH

Equity in journalism

Internationally acclaimed journalist (and former KRON East Bay bureau chief!) Soledad O’Brien, Maynard Institute director and former Oakland Tribune editor-in-chief Martin Reynolds, and The Oaklandside editor-in-chief and former NPR editor Tasneem Raja in conversation about what equity in journalism really means—and how local and national news organizations can avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

Music from Fantastic Negrito

When you listen to Fantastic Negrito, you’re invited to hear the story of life after destruction. Each song is a real story about a musician from Oakland who experienced the highs of a million-dollar record deal, the lows of a near fatal car accident that left him in a coma, and is now in the midst of a rebirth that took him from the streets of Oakland to the world stage. 

Fantastic Negrito has recently launched his own record label, Storefront Records, based in his home town of West Oakland and is working on his new album that will be the label’s first release.

Gun violence in Oakland

The Oaklandside’s managing editor Jacob Simas moderates a solutions-oriented discussion about gun violence with Antoine Towers of the Violence Prevention Coalition, Daryle Allums of Oakland Frontline Healers, and community advocate Towanda Sherry, in-person at Liberation Park in East Oakland. Afterward, violence-prevention advocate John Jones III talks about why the ongoing spike in gun violence in our city isn’t happening “in a vacuum,” as he wrote in a powerful essay for The Oaklandside.

Wednesday, June 16 WATCH

Youth leadership in a year of protest

Education equity reporter Ashley McBride talks with Denilson Garibo, a recent student director on the OUSD school board, Malia Liao, a student at Oakland Technical High School, and other youth leaders of movements and protests from the past year—including the push to allow Oakland students to vote for school board members, the end of campus police, and student marches against police brutality.

Race, space, and Lake Merritt

The Oaklandside’s news editor Darwin BondGraham talks with City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas about hotly contested issues of space, identity, and belonging around the lake, followed by conversations about biodiversity and the rewilding of Oakland’s central meeting place with Lake Merritt Institute Executive Director James Robinson and lake experts Damon Tighe and Katie Noonan.

Music from Caroline Chung

Caroline Chung is a Bay Area Jazz bassist, activist, song writer and producer who just released her first solo album Sounds Of Haejin.

She has been gigging  professionally for many years and has been an advocate for women musicians, organizing and putting on several Women in Jazz shows at the Red Poppy Art House as well as tributes to some of her favorite composers like Charles Mingus and Billy Strayhorn.

Caroline has always been bringing different musicians together with her collective band Citizens Jazz and can be seen performing all over the Bay Area. For her album she was able to unite 14 different Bay Area talents during the pandemic lockdown and produced her album in her living room. Sounds Of Haejin is available on all streaming platforms.

The pandemic and Oakland’s housing crisis

The pandemic has prompted emergency policies and big thinking around housing and homelessness in our city and county. Housing reporter Natalie Orenstein talks to unhoused community advocate Mavin Carter Griffin, the county’s homeless care director Kerry Abbott, housing advocate James Vann, and Oakland landlord Gina Baker about lessons learned and what’s possible going forward.

Thursday, June 17 WATCH

What’s next for the arts in Oakland?

Arts and community reporter Azucena Rasilla in conversation with multi-talented artists Favianna Rodriguez, Kev Choice, and others about how the pandemic has impacted local culture-makers, what will be needed for recovery, and what it all means for Oakland’s art and culture scene moving forward.

The Oaklandside: Behind the scenes

A live conversation with every member of The Oaklandside’s eight-person award-winning newsroom that peels back the curtain on how we report, the choices we made in an unprecedented year, how we hold ourselves accountable to our mission, and the journalism we’re gearing up to take on next. Moderated by Joaquin Alvarado, founder of Oakland’s studiotobe and past CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal, with questions from you.

Joaquin Alvarado
The Oaklandside staff

Presenting Sponsor

Additional sponsors

Bridge Bank logo
Clif Family Foundation logo
Oakland Athletics logo
Mechanics Bank logo
Organic OCHO Candy logo
St George Spirits logo
Warriors Community Foundation logo

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Photo credits:

Images courtesy of subject unless noted otherwise below.

Photos by Amir Aziz: Tasneem Raja, Jacob Simas, Ashley McBride, Azucena Rasilla, John Jones III, Darwin BondGraham, Natalie Orenstein, Oaklandside staff: photos by Amir Aziz.

Photos by Pete Rosos: Damon Tighe and Malia Liao: photos by Pete Rosos.

Photo by Becki Couch-Alvarado: Joaquin Alvarado.

Image and photo by Caroline Chung: Caroline Chung.