Today: A Fresh Start for the West Oakland Community

Today, the Fresh Start Festival for Working Families came to DeFremery Park in West Oakland. The festival, put on by SEIU ULTCW, was filled with more than 2,000 community members of all ages.

The day started with a community forum hosted by ULTCW President, Laphonza Butler. A panel of community members joined President Butler at the forum; each testifying through their own personal story about the true impact of the economic crisis hitting our country. The forum really set the stage about what the Fresh Start Festivalis about: a fresh start for our communities, one in which, if even only for the day, we can envision a dream of our own just society.
Check out the photos on Flickr
Children 5 – 15 were getting ready for school with free haircuts for boys and manicures for girls, not to mention a free backpack filled with school supplies, to make sure they have a fresh start in 2011!

The sun-filled day turned out community and union members and guests who enjoyed some old fashioned R&B music from Martin Luther, danced to salsa with Cumbia Tokeson and ended the day with some festival favorites dropped by DJ CJ Flash.

Children enjoyed performances by the Alphabet Rockers, Circus Bella and Red Panda Acrobatics on stage. Around the park the big hits of the day were Esperanza, our own festival mascot, Maikaze Daiko (taiko drumming) and a Lion Dance.
Watch the video on YouTube
The Festival was here to provide families, many who have been hit hard by the economy, with the fresh start they need. Aside from entertainment there was free lunch and free health screenings and information for all attendees.

Check out a video of our mascot, Esperanza, getting down:

Read the Press Release here:

Learn more about the festival, sign-up for news, and more at

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