Zennie's Rant and Some Eye Rolling
It's the roar of the crowd.
I was very disappointed as I read Nate Gartrell’s article "Urban Homesteaders Thrive" in the July edition. The article caught my eye at the mention of Fruitvale and Dimond, as I live between the two, and I was excited to learn more about Pollinate. I had to laugh out loud to keep from eye-rolling when Gartrell employed that handy euphemism "urban" to describe my adjacent street, which, Gartrell continues, is apparently plagued with "its share of inner-city ills." Gartrell thinks Pollinate is "out of synch" here. Why?
Why do you think Fruitvale is called Fruitvale? There is a rich and bountiful history here of homesteading that I assure you is alive and well. Unlike some other neighborhoods where fruit drops and rots unless someone takes "radical" action, it is not uncommon to see families harvesting fruit off of full trees, decades old. I wake up to the sound of chickens and the odd rooster, and I love that I can smell orange blossoms as I walk around the neighborhood. In the morning I see my neighbors tending their garden, and I know where there are bees tucked away in empty lots. Why would anyone be surprised that a store like Pollinate would take root here and thrive?
I am very tired of reading articles like this, that describe a new business sprouting up in an "unlikely" spot. Oaklanders have tended this city diligently-so there should be not surprise, only celebration, when that labor come to fruit.
Stephanie Joy Hartono, Oakland
Zennie’s Facebook Rant
I’ll have to be candid: I can’t bring myself to like Oakland Magazine because every time I see a copy of it, there’s perhaps ONE black person in it. It’s no wonder the publisher has not once sought to contact me, the one who established Oakland’s first blog, is the city’s only consistent video-blogger, and has a full history with the city of Oakland in various capacities: because I’m black. If I were white, I’d have gotten an email or call from Oakland Magazine long ago. Oakland Magazine represents a new, and really ugly, kind of subtle racism that is plaguing my town. Now, if someone wants to say that all they have to do is contact me, my response is, not so. What Oakland Magazine must do to make me happy, is authentically present Oakland, and stop trying to whitewash it. When the magazine does present someone black, it’s in an article about a stereo-typically black problem. The photos of African-Americans are generally by those who have bought ads-not by the publisher or the editor.
Zennie Abraham via Facebook
Editor’s Note: Oakland Magazine categorically disagrees with Abraham and his assessment and highly doubts whether he has actually perused an issue of the magazine. By coincidence, Abraham happens to be mentioned on page 15 of this very issue. Additionally, Telegraph Media publishes The East Bay Monthly, which published a long interview with Abraham in The Kilduff File in February.