Joaquin Miller Park

In 2009, Rue Mapp started a blog that focused on the things she truly loved — nature, community, technology — and that changed everything. Soon she was running Outdoor Afro (where Black people and nature meet), a national organization with more than 60 leaders in 28 states around the country. An Oakland native, Rue has always loved the Oakland Hills and the world-class park system just minutes away from everywhere. She feels fortunate to be able to reconnect people of color to the outdoors, and help them realize that nature truly is for everyone. So please take a minute to visit the Outdoor Afro website and learn about this amazing organization.

Sequoyah

I'm inclined to tell you all about Jon and Brittany — along with their youngest children Hana and Kai — how they are from Southern California (and had noticed each other down there before they met); how they actually met as students in Berkeley's graduate social work program; how they both got jobs 20 years ago with Alameda County Social Services and have been working there ever since; how they are currently raising two amazing, close, intelligent, fun, caring kids; and how I had more fun with them on our hike that I can remember having — but it's probably better if you just look at the photos. I think they tell the same story.

Eastmont

I was lucky enough to be invited to the National Night Out at St. Benedict's Catholic Church recently, and the love, community, and passion were overwhelming. There were people there who were born, raised, and still live in the shadow of the church and there were Oaklanders who come all the way across town to be a part of it. For 76 years, St. Benedict's been at the heart of the Eastmont neighborhood. Father Landeza (above), an Oakland native with a long history of commitment to our community, may be a relatively new addition to the church, but his warmth and energy have quickly made him a fixture in the neighborhood.