Conde Nast Traveler recently named Oakland (and Pittsburgh, where we met and fell in love!) one of the 10 most underrated cities in the U.S. As a decade-long resident of The Town, having lived in some of the “hottest” neighborhoods (Jack London Square, Temescal, Grand Lake), I feel like I have a pretty unique take on what makes Oakland both great, and not so great. For one, you simply can’t ignore the crime and preponderance of thugs … but these people are, in actuality, a very small part of the city’s landscape. Unfortunately, they are a very loud, and very imposing presence. That presence extends to social media as well. If you click on the #Oakland hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, you will see a lot of scantily clad women being objectified, guys throwing gang signs, an overwhelming dose of the Raider Nation, and just a lot of imagery that would lead people who haven’t been here to think that maybe (1) it’s incredibly dangerous, and (2) they never want to go there. That’s unfortunate because there ARE great places in Oakland – the waterfront, Lake Merritt, our neighborhoods, the food, the beer, the hills, the art … the city, for many of my complaints, has a lot to offer. Sometimes it’s all just outshined by some of the less than savory aspects of thug culture.
So, I’ve made it a personal goal that every time I leave the house, I will take a handful of photos and post them to Instagram using #Oakland. I want people to see another side of everyday life in Oakland. The not scary part. The happy part. The diverse part. The beautiful part. If you live in Oakland, I’d love for you to join me in this quest.