Maybe it happened over the border in Berkeley, but that doesn’t mean Thursday’s Take Back the Mic! was anything but a hard-core Oakland event.  Organized by Bay Localize’s Dave Room (aka Melia’s Papa), the event brought together LA-based green sustainability talent Derrick Ashong and his partner Jonathan M Gramling, who together make up Soulfege, with the Town’s own green hip-hop players Audiopharmacy, Seasunz & Ambessa FiyaPowa, Aaron Ableman Ensemble and Sunru all joining in.

Gerardo Marin of Farm Fresh Choice kicked off the event with a calling to Mother Earth/Pachamama and the elements, and Rook and Navina Khanna were able MCs.

A procession of storytellers entertained the crowd, which included lots of Oakland’s environmental justice organizers, out to celebrate community. Luisah Teish and David Glover of OCCUR & Greenlining Institute both told powerful stories.

And then there was the music, And the dancing. And the people. Yes, it rocked. And when I went home to go to sleep, of course, it was still happening.

About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local ( a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.