The Urban Dreams Video Project sent filmmakers into Oakland Public High School classrooms to mentor teachers and students during the production of videos about human or civil rights and/or social justice. Descriptions of the projects were written by the student filmmakers while developing the concepts for their video projects. The Urban Dreams Video Project is an Urban Dreams Technology Innovation Challenge Grant and Youth Media Project under the auspices of the Oakland Unified School District. Below you will find links to Quicktime versions of the student filmmakers' work -- socially conscious video projects which focus on issues important to Oakland youth. All clips require Quicktime.
  1. CRNN: Civil Rights News Now
    Students from Maryann Wolfe’s U.S. History class from Oakland Technical High School visited Washington, D.C. to learn more about how the United States government works, tour Capitol Hill, attend judiciary seminars and meet with government officials. They also visited Colonial Williamsburg, the birthplace of the American Revolution. The opportunity to document contemporary and colonial government “in action,” and compare and contrast civil rights of the past and the present provided a unique learning experience.

  2. Gay Marriage: A Right? Or Wrong?
    Seniors in Maryann Wolfe’s American government class from Oakland Technical High School were studying civil liberties: the right to life, liberty and property. They discussed issues of free speech, free press, freedom of religion, abortion rights, privacy rights and the freedom to marry whomever you want. Students often have different perspectives on issues being explored in the classroom. Despite these differences, they joined together as a group to investigate the historical context of gay rights and gay marriage.

  3. Where do you go when your community crumbles?
    Students in Mary Maultsby’s U.S. history and government classes from Castlemont High School were learning about social justice issues and compared services provided in their community to services in communities in San Leandro and Livermore, California. They researched and discovered that in neighboring cities, most of the money for services comes from sales tax generated through businesses that don’t exist in many Oakland neighborhoods, such as shopping malls and grocery stores. Their investigations also revealed that politicians respond to districts with a high percentage of voters and where community members are united and committed to change.

  4. The Lost Youth
    Jan Hunter teaches English and uses drama to engage students in writing. Students at Skyline High School brainstormed ideas, conducted research, developed concepts and improved script writing skills. They combined feature film and documentary-style filmmaking while investigating issues of youth violence and teen pregnancy

  5. Unfinished Business
    Too many students at Oakland Technical High School are being undeserved. The school is understaffed, under funded and overcrowded. The facilities are in need of renovation with the exception of the new football field. The video acknowledges the on-going problems at Oakland Tech with a look toward inspiring positive action. It sends a message that the problems are considerable but solvable. Additionally, the video fosters a deeper understanding of the perspectives of various groups involved.

  6. You Free?
    America is known as "the land of the free". People from all around the world migrate to this country in search of freedom, a better life and financial stability. Unfortunately many immigrants arrive finding little opportunity and a stressful lifestyle. The may lead them to question the meaning of freedom. This video from students at Castlemont High School student filmmakers gets people talking and exploring their own idea and definitions of freedom. What does freedom mean to you? Are you free?

  7. Through My Eyes
    High school youth, especially youth of color, are often unfairly labeled as "troublemakers" and they are discriminated against. Stores limit how many may enter, security guards follow them while they shop. Instead of funding educational programs and providing opportunities for youth, adults create repressive rules and laws that often limit opportunities. High school youth are not always "doing bad" and it is hurtful when they experience unwarranted suspicion. Three MetWest High School student filmmakers express their thoughts and show us why adults should not feel comfortable making assumptions about teenagers.

  8. Truth News
    Students are concerned about the disparity between school facilities in urban public school districts and facilities in suburban public school districts. Inadequate supplies, unsafe gymnasiums, auditoriums and cafeterias have many students upset about the lack of equality and social justice in public education. This video by Merritt Middle College High School student filmmakers raises awareness and offers solutions to help make a change for the better in urban public school facilities.

  9. Education: What Does It Mean ? What is it Worth?
    Using a lesson about Frederick Douglass, Mary Scott's students created a video to examine student attitudes about education. Interviews with Skyline High School students reveal what education means to them and how they envision their lives without it.

  10. Let 'Em Learn
    This video examines the impact of decreased funding of education and increased budgets for prisons. Student filmmakers from Street Academy take a position on the issue and tries to motivate the viewers to take a stand.

  11. Youth Violence: Images of Influence
    This video, created by Far West High School student filmmakers, shares information from people who have been directly affected by youth violence. It raises awareness and offers solutions to stop youth violence.

  12. Just Try to Stop Us, A Portrait of Four Youth Activists
    This video features several students at Oakland High School who are politically active.

  13. Capital Offense: At Issue with The Death Penalty
    Mary Scott’s English Language Development class at Skyline High School read Ernest Gaines’ book, A Lesson Before Dying. After reading the book and studying issues around capital punishment, students decided to express their views and make an argument against the death penalty.

  14. Eduquality
    Do you know your 26:2? That’s article 26 Section 2 of the United Nations Universal Human Rights Document. Ed Mestre’s students stayed after school at Dewey High School, studied the document and selected what they believe to be the two most important human rights. They chose to focus on the right to education and the right to equality. They share their views about the quality of their education at Dewey compared to other schools in Oakland.

  15. Old School New School - Tech In The 40s And Now
    History is more than just information in a textbook. Hearing about the past from someone who experienced it brings history alive. That’s what Elizabeth Lay’s 9th Grade Multicultural Education class discovered while making their video. They were studying California History from the 1940’s to the present when “Lucky” Ramsey, a graduate of Oakland Tech in the 40’s visited their classroom. Students document his interview and compare his experiences “back in the day,” to their own.

  16. The Music, The Message
    Historically, music has played an important role as a form of expression and a powerful form of protest in struggles for Social Justice. But what about today? The message now is violent, filled with “bling, bling,” sex and cars. Students from Linda Halpern’s English class at Castlemont High School investigate what has happened to the message in the music.

  17. The Right to Side
    We see politicians and police in the media talking about the crackdown on Side Shows, a popular, yet illegal and dangerous weekend activity preferred by teens. How do youth feel about the issue? Students from Larry Felson’s Drama class at Oakland High discuss their civil right to attend Side Shows with students, youth activists, community members, reporters and the OPD.

  18. Reparations
    Do African Americans deserve reparations? Students from Ron Robinson’s U.S. History class at McClymonds High School believe that they do. They’ll tell you why in this well researched documentary about a very controversial subject. African-American students, community members and activists express their views about this unsettling issue.

  19. Young Sisters on the Street
    Students from Nadirah Moreland and Jonas Zuckerman’s Education Academy & World Cultures classes participated in a Sister Cities project at Oakland Technical High School. They researched youth issues in various developing countries where Oakland has a Sister Cities relationship. The groups chose the issue of child prostitution in Brazil as their focal point for action and research because of the extremity of the issue and its overarching impact on AIDS, health care, lack of educational opportunities and child labor.

  20. ¡Si Se Puede! Michael Jackson’s Fremont High School Media Academy students documented the work of young people to rename a park in honor of Cesar Chavez. Students from all grade levels participated in the effort. They presented at City Council meetings, planted trees, painted tiles and studied the life of Cesar Chavez. Their hard work culminated in a successful community effort to rename the park Orixa Music Video

  21. Learning about Human Rights,
    Emiliano Zapata Street Academy. Monica Vaughan’s World Cultures class could not decide on a single human rights issue for their video. Since the entire curriculum at Zapata Street Academy is based on human rights, these young activists discuss what they have been doing to improve human rights conditions and how they educate themselves and their community about human rights issues.


Student Video Projects
2003 - 2004
CRNN: Civil Rights
News Now
Gay Marriage
A Right? Or Wrong?
Where do you go when
your community crumbles?
The Lost Youth
Unfinished Business
You Free?
Through My Eyes
Truth News
2002 - 2003
Let 'em Learn
Youth Violence
Just Try to Stop Us
2001 - 2002
Capital Offense
Old School New School
The Music, The Message
The Right to Side
Young Sisters on the Street
¡Si Se Puede!
Orixa Music Video