Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Trustee Paulina Gonzalez Brito addresses the crowd at Berkeley City College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event featured a block party along with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
‘We’re still rising’: BCC celebrates 50th anniversary
College throws block party and breaks ground on new building
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor • May 6, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024
PCCDs classified employees pose for a pic at the first-ever professional development day for classified professionals. PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson reflected on the event in her report to the Board of Trustees. (Source: PCCD)
Peralta’s leadership search, CCC public safety earmark, and “rumors” discussed at 4/9 meeting of PCCD Trustees
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Student Trustee Naomi Vasquez, who was sworn onto the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees on Dec. 12, 2023, sees her role as an opportunity to uplift her fellow students and advocate for the value of a community college education.
Student Trustee Naomi Vasquez aims to lift voices and empower students at PCCD
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • February 28, 2024

    ‘Life is Living’ celebrates art and community

    Local artists compete in the Estria Graffiti battle during the 'Life is Living' festivities at DeFremery Park.

    Thousands gathered at DeFremery Park to celebrate and contribute to Oakland’s annual “Life is Living” festival.

    The festival, held on Oct. 12, was meant to bring together Oakland residents and raise awareness for important issues in the Oakland community.

    The festival hosted a graffiti competition, local hip-hop artists, skateboard and BMX competitions, a freestyle rap battle, and renowned performers Dead Prez and The John Santos Sextet.

    “We wanted something that reflected the brown people of west Oakland, that reflected those of us working hard in schools and other institutions and our neighborhoods to create something that validated, reflected, and supported thriving in our own communities,” said Chinaka Hodge, an organizer of the festival.

    Carrying on the tradition of the Black Panther Party, the People’s Kitchen kicked off the festival by serving early-risers breakfast, asking for a “pay-what-you-can” donation.

    “The goal of the People’s Kitchen is to create a de-colonized restaurant, to create a community space where we can come together around food, come together around stories, and come together around nourishing each other,” said Rakim, a chef and organizer for the People’s Kitchen.

    Aside from the free breakfast, there were several food carts serving barbecue, burritos, and traditional African cuisine. They, along with local clothing and jewelry vendors, lined a barricaded 18th Street that bordered the park.

    Dotting the space between stages were artists from around the country, spattering giant canvases in spray paint for the sixth annual Estria Graffiti battle. Each artist sprayed his or her unique interpretation of the word “Dream,” or “Justice.”

    As the graffiti battle wore on, two stages in the park and one on 18th Street hosted musical artists from around the country.

    The Jon Santos Sextet played the 18th Street stage while Young Gifted and Black, a musical group comprised of young locals, performed on the children’s stage.

    As dusk fell and the food carts and clothing vendors began to pack up, Dead Prez headlined with their politically charged hip-hop.

    The New York duo played for over an hour, performing several of their hit songs, including “Hell Yeah,” and “Hip Hop,” to a crowd of several hundred on the 18th St. stage.

    “I didn’t even know this was happening-I’m so stoked to be able to see Dead Prez,” said Eric Jaffe, an Oakland local who stumbled upon the performance by accident.

    Life is Living was created by a collection of community activist groups and individuals for the purpose of educating communities in several U.S. cities about environmental issues and self-sustainability.

    The festival is currently held in Chicago, Houston, New York, Oakland, and San Francisco, with events proposed for Philadelphia and the Twin Cities.

    Originally called the “Red, Black and Green Environmental Concert and Caucus,” organizers have downsized the festival’s name to Life is Living.

    More information on Life is Living and the various groups who contributed or performed at the festival can be found at

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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