A Pilgrimage towards Change

Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow
Zachary Raden

Writing my final blog, I sit staring at my computer screen in reflection. In reflection on not only the surprises I’ve had over this summer, but also the unexpected journey I’ve experienced to be here today. Graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in May, this internship has been almost an extension of Berkeley to me, and for this reason, this final blog feels very much like a farewell to my academic journey and all that it has meant to me. Continue reading

A New Focus with Some New Friendships

Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow
Zachary Raden

After my first week at the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), I was eager to start my work and excited that it was so strongly related to my Sociology major. With my initial task of researching existing literature on ‘social cohesion indicators,’ I assumed there were studies done by individual social scientists in the past, but was worried about how many studies I would actually find and how extensive they would be in application.

I sorely underestimated the amount of existing studies. Continue reading

Community Leaders: The Unsung Champions for Change

Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow
Zachary Raden

When I applied for the Matsui Local Government Fellowship, I knew from the beginning I wanted to intern for the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP). After taking a class on environmental justice the previous year, I learned about the effectiveness and specific victories WOEIP had accomplished within West Oakland. Tackling the issue of the high shipping truck traffic within residential areas and the resulting high asthma rates among residents, I was specifically impressed with how they managed to do it collaboratively with both the City of Oakland, the EPA, and the community, while ensuring the community’s decision-making and participation. However, even with this admiration, I had little knowledge of what happened on a day-to-day basis at the WOEIP. Continue reading