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Ex-Black Panther Elaine Brown Has a Vision for West Oakland

Aliyah Kovner

Oct 6, 2015

Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW) is a nonprofit organization founded by former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, aimed at creating for-profit businesses owned and operated by former inmates. On about an acre of land at Seventh and Campbell streets in West Oakland, the OAW plans to develop retail spaces, a fitness center, affordable housing, and more, all sustainably built. One key element is already underway—an urban farm and green space. Sierra spoke by phone with Elaine about her vision to turn the once-blighted lot into a cooperative urban center.


What is the main goal of the Oakland & the World project?

To create pathways for people to develop independence and  stay out of prison, and to eliminate recidivism, by creating for-profit, cooperatively owned businesses. The shareholders will be formerly incarcerated people and those facing extreme barriers to employment, such as lack of education, racism, and so forth. OAW is the nonprofit that will finance, launch, and help sustain them until they are profitable...

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