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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Try to Stop Us, A Portrait of Four Youth Activists
This video features several students at Oakland
High School who are politically active.
- 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.
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
- Old School New School
- Tech In The 40s And Now
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.
- The Music, The Message
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.
- The Right to Side
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.
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.
- Young Sisters
on the Street
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.
- ¡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
- 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.