By Tasion Kwamilele
The Greenlining Institute was created 21 years ago to fight against the practice of denying economic opportunities to people of color. Continuing its mission, it is now going to transform and renovate the former Bank of America building in Downtown Oakland into the organizations headquarters.
“We have to practice what we preach,” said Executive Director Orson Aguilar. “We are sticking our neck and showing that it can be done, and doing it from the bottom up [to] revitalize Oakland.”
Located at 360 14th St., Greenlining plans to use the 23,000-square-foot building for its office space but will provide 7,500 sq. feet of affordable rental space to mission driven non-profit organizations. Another 8,000 sq. feet of conference space will be made available for local businesses and organizations to host meetings.
With Oakland’s diversity and realm of economical issues, Aguilar says Greenlining’s move to Oakland makes a lot of sense and aligns with the core mission of the institute.
“Their move to Oakland is good for the economic vitality of our city but specifically the organization’s mission is about economic fairness,” said Jason Overman, spokesperson for Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. “As we try to generate more economic opportunity throughout the city of Oakland, we do feel its important to work with organizations like theirs.”
According to a released statement, this nationally replicable redevelopment project “focuses on reclaiming blighted property, revitalizing an old building, and transforming it through a collaborative, sustainable model” and hopes to “redefine the process by which not-for-profit organizations, government, individuals, and corporations invest in communities.”
To continue this discussion, Greenlining will host its economic summit, “The 21st Century Majority: Empowering a New Nation,” on April 4 at the Downtown Marriott, seeking to bring community and government voices together to discuss concrete and practical models of change.
The summit also pays tribute to the life of former OCCUR Executive Director David Glover, who was a founding board member of the Greenlining Institute.
“On behalf of our OCCUR Board and Advisory Committee, I pledge our support to Greenlining in building a shared agenda among people and organizations that continue to build an inclusive, multi-racial, multi-cultural alliance of residents and community based organizations transforming the City to ensure that every Oakland resident has the full opportunity to become all that they are capable of being,” said OCCUR Executive Director Sondra Alexander.
For more information about the Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org. To register or obtain more information about the summit, email Yurida Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courtesy of the Oakland Post, March 28, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)