(Photo: David Bacon)
Everyone knows that Oakland is diverse. Probably more people from more races and nationalities live in the city than anywhere west of New York or north of Los Angeles. But before we celebrate diversity, think of its most diverse places. Some of them are surely the lines of hungry people lining up for food.
Oakland has many food pantries — programs run primarily by churches on a shoestring. Church elders are often found at the Alameda County Community Food Bank 's huge warehouse out by the airport, buying as much food as they can for as little money as possible. They worry that the bags of cans and produce they distribute will run out before everyone in line gets one.
Reverend Lee from the Cornerstone Baptist Church, a food bank stalwart, fills the small storefront off MacArthur Boulevard with white plastic bags of cans, dried goods, and bread. Then the people come. Mostly Chinese-American and African-American families get their food from the African-American activists from his church.