About the Campaign

END was born in Sobrante Park  

In the 1950’s and 60’s the Sobrante Park neighborhood had a vibrant social life and small business district, anti-segregationist activism anchored in the local church, and even an informal “Mayor” who helped affirm and organize the community to secure City attention and resources. The War on Drugs was an effort to crush that resiliency by breaking down the social and economic relationships that people had built to hold each other up.

Emerald New Deal grew from community organizing supported by In-Advance in the Sobrante Park neighborhood of Deep East Oakland. In-Advance is an Oakland community organization non-profit working to deal with racial injustices. One of our core projects was a community-driven response to the City of Oakland’s ‘Equity Scores.’ 

After the City released their ‘Equity Scores,’ we spent 2017-2019 engaging 500 residents through door-knocking, surveys, one-on-one interviews, and focus groups in neighborhoods with the highest poverty and unemployment rates and the lowest-income households. In response to the Department and Race & Equity’s “disparities indicators,” this project engaged the community to generate 53 “well-being indicators” grouped along the following themes: Housing, Public Safety, Neighborhood Services, Economy, Transportation, Education, and Public Health. 

One of these neighborhoods is Sobrante Park; we partnered with Sobrante Park Resident Action Council (SPRAC) to knock on doors across the neighborhood and learned that residents were surprised to learn a cannabis business permit had been issued there without their knowledge, and without any restitution for how the neighborhood was targeted and harmed during the War on Drugs. East Oakland has the highest rates of cannabis police arrests and the lowest levels of public investment; righting these wrongs are the core tenets of the Emerald New Deal. This led to the development of the Emerald New Deal by engaging residents directly impacted by the War on Drugs across the City to develop the funding priorities for addressing the harms and setting an equitable path forward. 

Community Organizing 

In the months Prior to COVID-19, In-Advance community organizers were working with re-entry programs and surveying folks in key neighborhoods to hear about their priorities for how the City could address the harm they caused and continue to cause through the War On Drugs. In summer 2021 we refined a COVID-safe protocol and began knocking on doors across East Oakland, specifically the flats of Districts 6 & 7 in the areas with the highest cannabis arrest rates to hear their ideas for funding priorities, engage them in City Council outreach, and empower them to become leaders in the campaign. By December, campaign organizers and community members coordinated an event at Community Reformed Church in Sobrante Park to show their Councilmember Treva Reid the breadth and strength of the community’s support for END, featuring several community members and leaders sharing their stories for why we need END on the ballot. Campaign organizers have also held training sessions on engaging in the legislative process, and helped over 20 community members participate in City Council meetings. 

Campaign Organizers 

Equity InAdvance, a project of Tides Advocacy, whose mission is to advance equity and racial justice is sponsoring the END campaign and two Lead Organizers:

Charles Reed charles@emeraldnewdeal.org

Coming home in 2017 after serving 31 years in prison, Charles came home to a city he no longer recognized. The aftermath of America’s Drug War combined with Gentrification and Inner-City Disinvestment had transformed Oakland into a hopeless, homeless hovel. This was the land of the Panthers, Black Power and Town Pride. Hoping to restore those revolutionary principles, Charles immersed himself into community service. Starting from ROOTS Community Health Center, Goodwill Industries, Operation Dignity, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project to InAdvance; Charles has aided his community through workforce development, housing the homeless, environmental justice and now Campaign Organizer for Oakland’s Emerald New Deal.

Gamila Abdelhalim gamila@emeraldnewdeal.org

Gamila Abdelhalim is a lifetime community organizer and activist. Born and raised in Sudan, she grew up in an environment where oppressive structures were ingrained in the fabric of her home country. She fled oppression and the political turmoil in Sudan and sought asylum in the US in the early nineties.  Here, she immediately began to bear witness to the very same structures of oppression impacting Black and Brown communities across the nation. She was empowered to embark on a multifaceted career that was centered in communities empowerment, equity, racial and social justice work. For years, Gamila worked closely with communities of color and clients of all backgrounds to make a collective impact and positive change. She is driven by the quest of empowering women and elevating underserved and marginalized communities throughout every position. To her, human rights and women’s rights are core to her quest for change. Realizing equity through cannabis in the city of Oakland is one of the goals Gamila is dedicated to. She has been working hard to push the Emerald New Deal forward, whether through engagement in community activities, canvassing the streets of East and Deep East Oakland, talking to community-based organizations and city officials, Gamila is committed to do everything possible to defend, support, promote  and elevate the Black and Brown communities of this great city.