Olis Simmons, 54, President/CEO of Youth UpRising
Has lived in Oakland for 30 years
How did you come to the Bay Area?
I came from Manhattan straight to Oakland. When you are from Manhattan, it is the megacity of all cities in the world. And I wasn't looking for another city, and San Francisco in comparison is quite a small place. I was looking for a feel, a tone, a texture, and Oakland offered that. It feels like home to me. Often I get on a flight, and people say, "Where do you live?" And when I say Oakland you can feel them pull away from you, ever so slightly lean away.
What do you make of this latest boom?
I think that it highlights both the division in America that has come up most perceptibly around race and some of the #BlackLivesMatter issues, but it also represents a tremendous opportunity for us to be much more thoughtful and to get it right this time. To really think differently about what does it mean as a nation to be "indivisible" and what does it mean for us to really make sure that there's a place for everybody at the table. "Right" would look like a mixed-income opportunity: that you have neighborhoods that are not all affluent or all poor, but in fact we begin to really deliver on the American Dream and create an opportunity for people across a much broader range ... to live in a neighborhood where all the benefits of a healthy community are available to everyone in our nation.