Art Auction to Benefit West Oakland Air Monitoring Program
High School Students Organize an Art Auction to Benefit West Oakland Environmental Movement for Clean Air
The Event: “Unleaded, Please!”, Art auction fundraiser, documentary showing, live entertainment, and more.
When and Where: March 20th from 5-8:30 at EXCEL High School, (2607 Myrtle St., Oakland CA 94607)
West Oakland, CA (March 9th, 2009) - High school students from West Oakland and San Francisco are joining forces to raise awareness about air pollution in a West Oakland residential neighborhood. “Environmental concerns about the Port of Oakland and highways in Oakland have overshadowed other, and at least equally disturbing, local environmental issues that should also demand our attention. We want to raise awareness about one serious case of pollution that we can better manage,” says David Joseph-Goteiner, a junior at Lick-Wilmerding High School. Joseph-Goteiner and several students from EXCEL High School are organizing an event on March 20th from 5-8:30PM to educate and inspire the Bay Area to take action on the issue of air pollution.
Custom Alloy Scrap Sales (CASS), a scrap yard and manufacturer of aluminum ingots and aluminum alloys, stands three blocks from EXCEL High School, from a local recreational center and from a playground, as well as in the midst of a residential neighborhood. Last year, students from EXCEL High School, in cooperation with Global Community Monitor and the Rose Foundation for Communities and The Environment, tested the air quality in the neighborhood surrounding CASS and found levels of metals (specifically lead) that far surpassed EPA standards.
"Companies like CASS don't seem to care about the harm that they may be causing in terms of health issues for people who live in the neighborhood and youth, like us, who go to go school right down the street,” said Brittnie Collins, a senior at EXCEL Academy. Danyale Willingham, a student at EXCEL, understands the importance of clean air first-hand: "CASS might be one of the contributors to the severe asthma that I and my peers suffer from.” Children in West Oakland are seven times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than the rest of California.
The neighbors of CASS have formed a community group called the West Oakland Air Monitors (WOAM) to hold the company accountable for their actions. “Sometimes the smell can be so bad that I don’t want to breathe for fear of inhaling the toxins,” said Linda McFadden, a CASS neighbor and WOAM member.
Students from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco and students from EXCEL High School are organizing an event to raise public awareness and donations to contribute to the community effort to monitor the air quality around CASS. The event on March 20th from 5-8:30, at Excel High School (2607 Myrtle St.) will be both an art auction to raise money and an opportunity to get involved in the issue.
The artwork being auctioned ranges from local high school talent to BART muralist Hang Nguyen and West Oakland painter Sandy Walker. Businesses are also donating items, including a dinner for two at Oliveto and a shop class at The Crucible. Major environmental organizations such as Earthjustice and Redefining Progress will participate. A documentary about the neighborhood response to CASS’ impact on air quality, directed by Lick-Wilmerding student Kirill Volchinskiy, will be premiered. The suggested donation is $3 to $20, but no one will be turned away. There will be a shuttle service from the West Oakland BART station, as well as space for 100 cars in the EXCEL parking lot.
To RSVP to the event:
Make a tax-deductible donation to the West Oakland community monitoring project:
David Joseph-Goteiner, CORO Youth Fellow (coro.org/el) and organizer of the event
Denny Larson, Executive Director of Global Community Monitor
Ina Bendich, Teacher at EXCEL High School, Law Academy
Terranisha Nathaniel, Student at EXCEL High School