Gun Violence Isn't New to These Oakland Students

5 min
Hundreds of Oakland Technical High School students hold a walkout on March 14, 2018 to protest gun violence one month after the Parkland, Florida mass shooting left 17 dead. (Samantha Shanahan/KQED)

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Tillerson and McCabe are gone, but you can't fire the news.

1. These students know a lot about gun violence

Students from Oakland Technical High School stand up against gun violence on March 14, 2018, one month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people.
Students from Oakland Technical High School stand up against gun violence on March 14, 2018, one month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people. (Samantha Shanahan/KQED)

Thousands of young people across the Bay Area and the country walked out of their schools this week to protest gun violence and to remember the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last month.

But what stood out to me most — among the chants, the impassioned pleas for action from Congress and the moments of silence — was hearing from students in Oakland who told KQED's Vanessa Rancaño that they've been dealing with gun violence for a long time, and no one has planned walkouts for them.

2. California wasn't always a sanctuary for immigrants

About 200 demonstrators protesting Proposition 187 march along Senter Road in San Jose on Oct. 25, 1994. The march began in Morgan Hill and ended at St. Joseph's Cathedral in downtown San Jose.
About 200 demonstrators protesting Proposition 187 march along Senter Road in San Jose on Oct. 25, 1994. The march began in Morgan Hill and ended at St. Joseph's Cathedral in downtown San Jose. (Patrick Tehan/Mercury News)

I moved to the Bay Area in June 2016, so I've only ever known California as an uber-liberal place that is literally being sued by the federal government for trying to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

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But it hasn't always been like this.

I had heard of Proposition 187, which passed in 1994 and denied undocumented immigrants access to publicly funded services before being struck down by a federal court. However, I didn't realize how much the debate around it changed the state's relationship with immigrants until this story from KQED's Farida Jhabvala Romero.

3. What does it mean to be 'middle class' in Palo Alto?

Two men eat lunch and converse at Local Union 271, a farm-to-table restaurant on University Avenue in Palo Alto, on Aug. 25, 2016.
Two men eat lunch and converse at Local Union 271, a farm-to-table restaurant on University Avenue in Palo Alto, on Aug. 25, 2016. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

There are people living in Palo Alto making $400,000 who see themselves as middle class. As someone living on a journalist's salary, that sounds bonkers. But as someone who lives in Palo Alto, it makes a little more sense.

Everything (especially housing) in Palo Alto is so expensive and so many folks at Stanford and working in tech are so wealthy, that I can see how the definition of "middle class" can get warped. KQED's Tonya Mosley wrote a fascinating story that gets into all of these complexities of what it means to be "middle class" in one of the richest parts of the country.

4. Looking for Paradise? Head to Butte County

First Gold Nugget Committee 1959, in celebration of discovery of the 54 pound nugget on April 12,1859.
The First Gold Nugget Committee 1959, celebrating the discovery of a 54-pound nugget on April 12,1859. (Courtesy of Mark Thorp)

There are two amazing facts about Paradise, California, about 10 miles east of Chico in Butte County:

  1. It's called Paradise. That's its real name.
  2. It's home to the largest gold nugget ever found. 54 pounds! That's like six newborn babies worth of gold.

5. Why are there thousands of gnomes all over Oakland?

Being on the sidewalks of Oakland can sometimes be a messy spot for the gnomes. This particular one was recently visited by a local dog.
Being on the sidewalks of Oakland can sometimes be a messy spot for the gnomes. This particular one was recently visited by a local dog. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)

I generally hate gnomes. They're small, creepy and generally off-putting. But the story of how thousands of tiny, hand-painted wooden gnomes were sprinkled across Oakland's utility poles is genuinely heartwarming.

In the newest episode of the Bay Curious podcast, they track down the mystery man behind the gnomes and learn why the heck anyone would paint and post thousands of gnomes around town. It's guaranteed to make you smile.

Before you go...

KQED reporters and photographers captured some amazing images of the young people who walked out of their classes on Wednesday.

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