Since the COVID-19 crisis began in March, the Oakland Public Education Fund has been in high gear, raising funds to provide cash assistance, food and other vital resources to underserved Oakland families through our COVID-19 Relief Fund. And since the first day of shelter in place, our community’s response has been nothing short of amazing. Empowering people to come together to help those in need is what the Ed Fund is all about.
I am honored to be part of an organization that helped the Oakland Unified School District serve over 3 million meals to Oakland students and families. Through our COVID-19 Relief Fund we are on our way to providing $1 million in cash assistance to vulnerable Oakland families. This money has been especially helpful for undocumented families not eligible for unemployment benefits and stimulus funding.
We saw a lot of pent up anger and frustration come to life after we witnessed the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis, in late May. The Oakland Public Education Fund quickly responded with a #BlackLivesMatter Solidarity Statement that reflects our belief in racial justice and efforts to be an anti-racist organization. Many of our staff also took to the streets in peaceful protest.
Our Intel Summer Fellowship program kicked off in June. 35 students from Oakland Tech and McClymonds High took part in our (first ever!) virtual Intel High Tech Pathways program in collaboration with Hack The Hood. Students got to learn from Intel employees, and gain valuable networking opportunities. In their first week, speakers from Intel presented on various tech innovation topics including 5G cellular networking. Intel employees of color also participated in a panel describing their career journeys and answered students’ questions about college and careers.
As we settle into summer, I find myself reflecting on how different this next school year will be for our Oakland youth and their families as we continue to shelter in place and continue with distance learning. No matter what happens, the Ed Fund will continue to improvise, adapt and overcome to ensure the 20-21 school year kicks off strong for all Oakland students.