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By Dannette Lambert

Gentrification is the word of the day in Oakland. Everywhere you look people are asking, “Am I a gentrifier? Is it bad? Should I care?” What people don’t seem to realize is it isn’t the mere act of moving into a neighborhood that makes you a gentrifier; it’s what you do once you get there. If you come into someone’s home, do you immediately start rearranging it and moving furniture in? Do you throw away their family photo albums and tell them they have to go to bed at an earlier time or play their music at a lower volume? No, of course not. You get to know each other, decide if you get along, and, once your host has decided you can stay, you ask politely if there is space to put your stuff. So why do you think you can move into someone else’s neighborhood and start making it over as your own? Why do you think you can move into someone’s ancestral land and start taking it over, evicting them from their homes and pushing out their businesses?

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By Claudia Paredes and Emma Gibbens, NLC Oakland 2015 Fellows

Our first day of NLC Oakland was a dreamy flashback to the first day of school. How long ago that feeling was for each fellow varies, but the main elements of anticipation, curiosity, excitement and some nervous butterflies were all felt. Our NLC learning community is diverse in just about every sense of the term. Yet, we all share our commitment to our personal and professional development, the growth and impact that young progressive leaders can have on the world and our love for the Bay Area and Oakland. It is with this energy that we engaged in the experience as the inaugural NLC Oakland cohort.

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