What's in Yo Hoods' Air, Water & Soil- Youth Skolaz 2014 WeSearch Findings on Environmental Racism & Liberation

Tiny - Posted on 24 July 2014

Co-Madres/Co-Daddys Note: The theme of the 2014 Revolutionary Youth Construction/Science, Media/Arts & Permaculture Camp at Homefulness - was Environmental Racism and Gentrification. Each Youth Skola worked in a team to investigate the soil and water of the intentionally blighted, gentrify ready, colonized and stolen Ohlone land known as Deep East Oakland. It was a multi-generational classroom where eldership was practices, older youth taking on leadership and co-teacher roles to younger youth. They also learned/participated in media creation and dialogues about racism, poverty, permaculture, Poor peoples liberation and basic building, architecture taught by elders and comrades like the Black Riders Liberation Party and the Carpenters Union. They built scale models of the poor peoples liberation project called Homefulness. Finally and most importantly, each youth skola re-learned the importance of their own ancestral knowlege, and how important their love and respect is for their own original teachers, their mamaz, daddys, aunties, uncles, abuelos/as, ancestors, spirits cultures and Mama Earth.

Patience Oppression, Liberation and Me- by Youth Elder Nikolasi Niumeitolu
Day 1: On the first day, we opened our camp with a discussion on environmental racism. Environmental racism is when a group of people, like the government, puts poor and impoverished people, like us, in places that are polluted and contaminated by industrial waste, like east Oakland. We also discussed gentrification. Gentrification is when the government or the bank evict people from their homes or stores, so they can increase the property value by building condos for more “desirable” people. After our discussion we investigated our neighborhood for signs of environmental racism ad gentrification. We walked down to Richie and Macarthur and found a barber shop on the corner that was being gentrified by real estate snakes. We then crossed the street to a dirt lot and collected a sample of the dirt and a sample from a group of abandoned buckets that were filled with murky oil-like liquid. After taking the samples we made our way back to homefulness, taking note of all the many liquor stores. Taking a final sample from homefulness we ended out day concluding that we were in a neighborhood infected by environmental racism and gentrification.

Day 2: ON the second day we met the architect of the new Homefulness Project, Bob Theis. Bob Theis told us about the new environmentally friendly Homefulness he planned to build. Instead of using the conventional wood build for the new homefulness, Theis planned to use the indigenous straw build. Theis told us how many indigenous peoples used straw build houses, a popular example being adobe houses. We also met and interviewed Black Rider E Da Ref. E Da Ref made us aware of the constant oppression people of color are under from the government.

Day 3: On the third day we went to a creek, called Arroyo Viejo to investigate the water. The creek lay polluted, littered with plastic waste. We then came back to Homefulness to examine and test our water samples. The water samples had a pH level of 9, which is way above the level water is supposed to be. Water is supposed to be the neutral pH level of 7.

Week 2

Day 1: On the fourth day we learned the importance of the honey bee. The honey bee is responsible for pollinating one third of the world’s fruit and vegetable crops. We learned pollination is important because pollination is what makes the flower blossom, which later turns into the fruit or vegetable. The honey bees are being killed off by pesticides non-organic farmers use called neonicotinoids. These pesticides, if not stopped, will kill all the honey bees in the world. Without the honey bees alive, we will lose crops like tomatoes, apples and cucumbers. After that we started a scale build of homefulness. I made a basketball court with two basketball hoops.

Day 2: On the second day of the second week we learned about fracking. Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing is when you use large amounts of water to fracture the earth in order to obtain minerals and oil. Fracturing can cause earthquakes and tremors because the fractures can go miles into the Earth. We also discussed the many oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. In our discussion, we learned oil can contaminate the water, which contaminated the fish, makes it unfit for us to swim in and also makes it unfit for us to be around. After that we interviewed three black carpenters and one Black Rider. The carpenters told us a little about carpentry while the Black Riders told us about what the Black Riders do. We ended our day with finishing up our scale model of Homefulness.

The Last Day: Today is the last day of Hopefulness. Looking back on the past two weeks, I have learned a lot. I’ve learned about the environmental racism and gentrification oppression us poor people go through every day. I’ve learned more about myself. As an older member in the camp, I am mostly in leadership positions. Most of the time, my patience wears thin with the younger children, but these past two weeks have shown me to be patient and to help my younger brothers and sisters because we are all family. As we finish and paint our scale models of Hopefulness, I would like to say this camp has taught me more about our world and also was very fun to attend.

Without the Bees We Couldn't Exist- by Youth Elder Seven

Week 2

Day 1: On the first day that I came we learned about the bees and about if they no longer exist, we would not be able to live. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating over 100 crops. They also help us plant our fruit, like apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, cucumbers, onion, grapefruit, orange and pumpkins.

Day 2:
We learned that BP oil is bad for the earth. Shell signed a contract with Lego to drill a hole in the earths crust from Canada to Mexico. Lego is a bad company for kids. The black carpenter came to inspect our small houses. 

Day 3:
We learned about how the world is filled up with traps. Electricity and fire are not a necessary element. In the past, people didn’t have a lot of electricity or water in their houses. I also learned that most of the cars are used by the devils. Then I finished making my mini poor magazine school model.

The Bees are Very Important- By Youth Elder Dante

Day 1:

The first day I came we watched a movie on bees and how they are very important part of our world and we wouldn't be able to eat all the fruits we need and love. So we got to take care of bees and quit killing them because they are very important. I also learned that in some cities they barely have any bees so they pay people to put the nectar on with a little Q-tip.


Day 2:

My second day we made groups and each group had an assignment to put in our little places that we had made. We learned about how to make a house by how we wanted it to look. So we had rooms and the outside looked like a real house. 


Day 3:

My third day we worked on the houses again and my team started again so we can make it look better. It was hard to, but we got it done because we didn't fight this time so it went fast.


Searching and WeSearching By Youth Skola Jisary

Day one: we went to Ritchie and Macarthur and took oil samples and dirt samples. We also learned about environmental racism. When we came back we looked at the dirt with microscopes and saw a whole lot of little bugs in the dirt.
Day two: we continued where we left off and the next group went to look at the dirt in the microscopes. My group had to go on the computers and search up what they where doing to our water and tiny called it we search. We also built plant boxes for our herbal plants.
 Day three: we did an interview with E Daref one of the black riders. We asked him a lot of questions. After that we went to go play basketball and others played tag and hide and go seek.

 Day four: the black carpenters came to teach us about building and where going to build the next day when we where done learning we went inside to eat some greens and macaronie and cheese.
 Day five: we started to build models of homefullness my team built a healing center because the shape of the drawing looked like one. The shape was like a octagon.
 Last day: a woman spoke to us about radiation and a spill in Japan called fukashima daichi and it effected all the fish in the pacific ocean. After that we had to finish our houses and after that we had freetime and I had fun.

Studying Our Neighborhood By Youth Elder Janina Scislowski

Day 1:
ON the first day we came to people’s School, we went out to Ritchie and Macarthur street, and went to study and observe the neighborhood. There were abandoned lots, empty yards, trash, building parts on the ground, and fences separating areas. There was a bad smell as we walked through the places, the unused buildings, and the gated, unfinished houses. There were many houses for lease, yet they looked old and vacant. When we were approaching a lot with broken doors and windows in it, we smelt a burning, sweet smell. We saw two orange buckets and inside that was oil. Unattended full oil. It was thick and it smeared the side of the bucket. WE took samples of the oil and dirt from the dirty lot, and when we later put the grains from the dirt under the microscopes we found that the dirt was infected with bacteria.
Gentrification is all around us.

Day 2:
On day 2, we met Bob Theis, a building contructor. We taked about building, different ways to build, and he said that the building was built in 1925. Before this building was empty for ten years. We learned that people used to build buildings feom trees, but we are wasting them, so we now build with hay/straw. Also, the wood would try to reunite with its family in nature, so it later rotted. Now, we put a concrete slab under the wood, and build our straw material in the walls. These inds of houses were built mostly in Central Valley. We were taught about different kinds of wall designs and plaster, and cool facts like that straw buildings don’t catch fire, and mud hardens naturally when you put it into the walls. Naturally made houses are some of the best, and they’re good for the environment.

Day 3:
On day three, we went to Arroyo Viejo, and learned that ten years ago, this river was fill of fish. It was healthy, but later it got contaminated. The world arouns us was fracking (a form of taking energy by drilling DEEP into the ground and taking the healthy water) and we were told that CA might start doing this. In Pennsylvania, when people turned on the tap, they got fire instead of water. Fracking in Oklahoma caused three earthquakes in the same week.

Week 2

Day 1:
On day 1, we learned that bees are dying, and that Lego and Shell are signing a contract and setting a bad example for the children who play with Legos. With bees, we’d have HALF the fruit and vegetables we have today.

On the last day, we interviewed a carpenter, and architect and a designer. They’re gonna help us build our school, café and houses. I thought they were some of the coolest and devoted people and they made me want to go on my video game where you can build your own house. We then interviewed the Black Rider comrade and he told us about how companies use stores with cheap stuff to get to make the town look so back so no one would want to live here, and they’d have a reason to tear down the homes to make more places for the rich people.

Contaminated Oil and Dirt by Youth Elder Iris

Week 1

Day 1:
On the first day of summer camp we took a field trip to Ritchie and Macarthur and took multiple samples of contaminated oil and dirt, and that is what we concluded with on day one of week one.

Day 2:
We did wesearch (research) abut the multiple samples and we also found out what lead does to the human body. We talked to an architect named Bob Theis and he taught how to draw out blueprints and explained about strawbale construction.

Day 3:
Continuing with the dirt samples and oil samples we tested the contaminated oil and dirt and also went to go get samples of water from a creek names arroyo Viejo river. Everyone went back to test the water and it came back an interesting and rare result.

Week 2

Day 1: When we came back from our short extended break, we learned about the bees. Also, I learned that there are 19,200 different species of bees and that half of our fruit is produced by bees, including avocado, cherries, apples, etc.

Day 2:
I learned that Shell and Lego signed a contract together to cause an oil spill to pollute the ocean which is also BP oil. I learned more about building and environmental racism.

Day 3:
Today we had a talk about more environmental racism and nuclear radiation. We learned about deregulation and the nuclear bombs that hit Japan.

Avocados, Cucumbers, and Oranges- by Youth Skola Joyous
Day 1:
On day one, I learned about bees. If all bees died we would have only four years to live. Here are ten crops that would disappear without bees: apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, cucumbers, onion, grapefruit, orange and pumpkins. I also learned that scientists say there are over 19,200 species of bees.

Day 2:
I also learned about Exxon and BP oil. Shell signed a contract to drill in Antarctica. I learned about Palestine and the point of killing Palestine is for oil.

Day 3:
I learned that Fukushima has killed many people and animals. I learned about the deregulation which means the city can take stuff from you like water.

Neonicotonoids by Solomon Campbell/Youth Skolar POOR Magazine

Day 1

We walked around the block taking dirt samples we also found an oil bucket right in front of it. Then we went back to home fullness and collected dirt samples. We noticed that the home fullness dirt had more nutrients than the other places we got dirt samples from.

Day 2

On this day half of my team we searched and found this.
Lead contaminations in Oakland
    West Oakland
Oakland army base
 Verdese Carter park
5.        Cypress Freeway

We also met this guy named Bob he told us home fullness was built 1920.  There are also making houses out of straw. Also regular houses burn easier than straw bale houses.

Day 3

Why we need bees?
 If bees disappeared from the face of the earth humans would only have four years to live. Honey bees are also responsible for pollinating over 100 crops. These are ten crops that will disappear without honey bees.
blue berries

Class of neuron-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine.

Day 4
We watched a video about how Lego signed a contract with shell telling the kids shell is alright or cool cause they are helping Lego.
They are also building a XL pipe line from Canada to Mexico causing earth quakes within the a

I learned how the earth is in crisis and we need to help.
Our  mama earth

Revolutionary Construction by Youth Skola Muh' Queenah

day 1: we walk to ritchie and macarthur to get dirt sample

day 2: revolutionary construction Bob Theis. The house of decolonize school 1925. Blocks of straw are 50 two kinds of plaster. Earth blaster. Straw bales don't burn. 

Day 3: Arroyo Viejo, 10 years ago, fish used to live here
Unknown Chemicals by Youth Skola Mandume
Day 1: The first day we went to Ritchie and Macarthur. We took a sample of an unknown chemical and dirt samples. 
Day 2: The next day we looked under our microscopes to look at the chemical.
Day 3: We learned more about the black riders and architecture. He said that we will build homefulness.

Commercial Gentrification and Environmental Racism by Youth Skola Tiburcio

Week 1

Day 1:
I couldn’t believe it! I was finally going to the camp that I’ve been hearing so much about! We came at 7:20 or something like that and I saw my mom felt the same way. At about 9:30 Nico came along with Connie and his mother Loa. We had fun and I got to know Nico. And then finally at 10:20 everybody cam in our car with Philip Standing Bear. We played a lot at first and then my mom came and said that we are going to sample dirt in two different places. I learned on the way to our first location, Ritchie and Macarthur. I found a barber shop being closed down and the realtor was Simon Raya and the company was KW Corporation. They did commercial professional gentrification. And I also learned that most of the trash in the gutters flows in to the bay. Then we went to Ritchie and Macarthur and saw that there was oil and trash on the streets and in the garden. When we got back after lunch we had to leave.

Day 3:
On day two we came and learned more about environmental racism and how it affects us. Then my mom said that we should go to a river called arroyo Viejo. We took samples of mosquito larvae and water and learned about fracking drilling for oil in the earth’s core and destroying the earth. When we went back to Homefulness and tested the water, the results were a little too clean. We figured out that the water was infected with high amounts of chlorine.

Day 4:
On day 4 (which was my third day), we learned about how environmental racism targets bees. If the bees die, apples, pineapples, avocados, cherries, blueberries, cucumber, onions, grapefruit, oranges and pumpkins would all have a hard time growing. WE may only have four years to survive if all the bees die and that was actually said by Albert Einstein himself.

By Youth SKola Sahara Shell is polluting our kids imaginations. BP - British petroleum

Lead poisoning our Water by Youth Skola Trew
Day 2
We went to Arroy Vienjo Creek  and learned it used to be much bigger - We also learned about hydraulic fracturing or "Fracking" . We tested the water from Arroyo Viejo and found out it was very high in chlorine and acid. We also Wesearched about lead in our soil and how so much of our soil is filled with lead and how it makes us sick. We also found out there was no lead in the creek.

Day 3 We learned about straw bale architecture from a builder. We learned that earth plaster is non-flammable and a good thing to use when you are building a house because it is strong and will also withstand an earthquake

Evictors, and the Old Creek by Youth Skola Josia

(Homefulness has brought me more knowledge, than other camps and schools. Homefulness has been a fun and great experience for me. It has been thrilling and exciting. Homefulness camp has felt like a school, but better. The adults know me, and it isn’t awkward at all. -Zosia)

Week 1
Day 1:
On the first day of Homefulness camp, we did a prayer, introduced ourselves, and walked over to Ritchie and Macarthur and saw an eviction notice; the evictors name was Simon Raya  and then we saw the weeded lot that was trashed with old furniture, molded clothes and oil cans that were definitely not healthy for humans and the environment. Next, we sampled dirt from the lot and compared it to some dirt we got from our house and some dirt from homefulness. The Ritchie and Macarthur dirt was filled with wayyy more germs homefulness.

Day 2:
On the second day of homefulness camp, at the end of the day, a construction worker, Bob Theis who talked about scales and the homefulness house and how it was built, with what it was built, when it was built, etc. He also talked about different types of houses, like wood, adobe, plaster and straw. He talked about different kinds of roofs and walls.

Day 3:
The third day of homefulness was when we went to “Arroyo Viejo” meaning old creek in Spanish. We left in two card, the poor magazine family van, and muteado’s truck. WE talked about  the lake’s origins and who made the name. After that, we took down notes and samples of the water. We saw a playground and you can guess that we started playing there. Then we left and the group split in half and some wrote down information about the creek, and the other half looked at the water samples with the telescopes.

Day 4:
Day four was the second week of homefulness camp, and I was late (because of reasons), so I walked in on the groups talking about bees dying and disappearing from neo-nicotinoids, which are pesticides close to nicotine. So basically, they’re putting nicotine on our food and crops. After that, we made models of the sliding scale café, and the homefulness that we’re going to build.

Day 5:
On the fifth day of camp, we had a deep east TV meeting, interviewed two carpenters, interviewed a construction worker, interviewed Askari, had a BBQ and fed the people on the streets, and continued on our homefulness models.

Day 6:
We finished our models, a speaker came in and gave a speech about radiation and cars, and also a war that is going on (but not literally). We finished our models by painting the house/model walls.

Revolutionary Peopleskoo

by Youth Elder Sean


Even though this summer camp was only two weeks long, I think it was the most informative summer camp I have ever had the pleasure of being involved with. From the first project that we did I could tell that I would enjoy it. We tested some water from arroyo park. What we found was that the water was too clean. Indicating that someone (most likely a company trying to hide something) had treated the water before it flowed down to us. I liked that experiment because it showed that it is smarter to be humble when doing experiments, and in life, so that you will be more prepared to understand unexpected results. 


On the third day we learned how to make our own herb boxes. That was important because we have to learn how to provide our own healthy food as part of breaking the chains of economic slavery that we found out we live under. Before that though, our revolutionary architecht Bob taught us how to build with straw and mud and why thaty ancient method is easier  and more economical than traditional construction. that showed us that we are being controlled by antiquated techniques of building and energy production and that the ancient methods are still more economical. Big money has manipulated and deregulated our planet so that they can charge us more money and keep us enslaved.


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