OAKLAND CA - Over 400 attendees gathered to experience an inspiring day of UNITY at BOSS’ 3rd Annual Black August Block Party
Held in the State that birthed Black August and the city that ignited the Black Panther Party, the event was a powerful reminder of the community's strength and history. The weather, atmosphere, and our amazing host, Comedian WightOut, made sure it was a day filled with laughter and connection, engaging with vendors, performers, and resources to capture the true essence of Black August and culture.
Economic Empowerment and Wellness Focus
BOSS is steadfast in its commitment to economic empowerment and career education, driving its efforts to support and uplift our communities. Our commitment was exemplified by including Black-owned vendors at the Black August Block Party, which aimed to create a vibrant marketplace and foster growth and sustainability for these businesses.
This commitment is further exemplified through BOSS programs like CTEC, which provides comprehensive job training and education, and the Entrepreneur Program, which empowers formerly incarcereated individuals to establish successful businesses.
In the Wellness & Empowerment Zone, attendees engaged with essential resources about holistic healing, nutrition, therapy, and more. BOSS’ Wellness & Empowerment team was in attendance, sharing that the new campus would open September 1, 2023, in East Oakland—providing an integrated multi-disciplinary approach to healing and trauma recovery in the community.
Bay Pls offered HIV and blood pressure testing, while Native American Health provided COVID-19 education and more. Alameda County General Services offered nutritional information and family resources. Mixed Behavior introduced its Project Heavy Program to empower youth and young adults impacted by mental and emotional trauma through the arts.
Creative Exploration and Artistry in Family Fun
Throughout history, art has been used as a tool to raise awareness about social issues and affecting positive change. Artists create work that intersects with political activism and social justice causes.
You have to educate our people, to liberate our people, ain’t nobody coming to get us.
People will come if you make a place for them---Sister Elaine Brown, CEO | OAW
Musicians and artists from cities across the nation graced the mainstage, sharing their songs and testimonies about growing up in inner cities like Oakland and what Black August and artistry mean to them. Their performances resonated with the audience, connecting experiences that spoke to the challenges and triumphs of their lives.
An amazing all-day slate of performers shed light on the shared struggles, resilience, and the culture that binds Black communities together. This collective expression brought a powerful sense of unity to the event, reinforcing the importance of artistic platforms in amplifying voices and sparking meaningful dialogues about social change.
The Artists Zone provided a hub of creativity where kids and adults participated in a collective BOSS mural and created their masterpieces, learning about the significance of Black Liberation. Children in the Kid Zone enjoyed jumpers, face painting, and creating.
An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I'm concerned, it's their choice—but I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty---Nina Simone
Promoting Civic Engagement
As participants explored the various event zones, they found artistic expression, entertainment, and a space where civic engagement took center stage - encouraging attendees to come together to collaboratively envisioning solutions that drive real change.
The Block Party encapsulated civic engagement with representatives like City Council Member Treva Reid addressing healing and economic imbalance in Oakland while stressing the importance of voting.
The League of Women Voters ensured each person who visited their booth was left with resources about why elections matter and the urgency to register and vote.
The event's backdrop, adorned with the names of activists and freedom fighters, symbolized the community's commitment to honoring its history while shaping a better future. This alignment between remembrance and progress showcased how Black August and its principles remain deeply relevant, inspiring contemporary action.
BOSS' active participation in the California Black Power Network (CBPN) further demonstrated its dedication to uniting communities, amplifying voices, and driving collective efforts toward a brighter future.
A Blueprint for Transformation
BOSS's commitment to civic engagement is intricately woven into its mission to end mass homelessness, incarceration, and community violence. As the event emphasized, BOSS' initiatives are grounded in addressing urgent needs while looking ahead to transformative change. Our upcoming goals focus on housing expansion and implementing the Wellness and Empowerment Campus (WEC) model. This model, launching September 1, 2023, envisions a comprehensive, culturally tailored program that centralizes various essential services for Oakland's communities.
This focus on building resilience and strategically fostering lasting change mirrors the sociopolitical movement envisioned by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. It speaks to the transformative power of collective efforts, where organizations like BOSS partner with state agencies and national social justice advocates to enact tangible shifts in criminal justice, housing, poverty, and shared safety.
The Black August Block Party exemplified these principles, affirming the ongoing journey toward Black liberation and community empowerment, which continues to be championed by BOSS and its network of partners.
That's A Wrap!
Thank you to our supporters, sponsors, community, Black August, and the City of Oakland!
This event is not just a one-time celebration; it's a commitment to an ongoing movement. The future of the Black August Block Party is bright, and we invite each one of you to stay involved, engaged, and committed to the causes. Please stay connected with BOSS, follow our initiatives, and join us in our mission to bring about lasting change in our communities. Your support, your voice, and your presence matter more than ever.
So please mark your calendars, stay tuned, and prepare to return next year and the year after, as we grow stronger and make an even bigger impact. Visit our official BLACK AUGUST BLOCK PARTY page for more!
Events like BOSS' Black August Block Party are made possible through community support through donations and volunteering. Visit our donation page to donate TODAY and be part of BOSS' innovative social change!