The Black Lives Voter Guide helps Black and allied voters support equal rights and justice for Black people in Oakland. The Guide consolidates the perspectives of leaders from Black social justice organizations across Oakland, to help educate voters on the candidates believed to be the most progressive change agents and the measures expected to best uplift people in marginalized communities. With a consolidated voice, we can drive meaningful change toward a more equitable, peaceful, and united Oakland.

The Project

The Black Lives Voter Guide is a research project and voter education tool. We talk to Black social justice leaders heading up Black nonprofits and ask what they think about our local, county, and state elections. Where there's a clear consensus, we publish an endorsement. Where there’s not, we tell voters there are mixed opinions. In either case, we take participants’ comments and paraphrase the most useful ones. The endorsements in the Black Lives Voter Guide represent our research findings, and are not a direct endorsement by any one of the participating groups.

For the 2022 election, we talked to leaders from more than 20 Black social justice organizations that serve tens of thousands of people in Oakland focusing on health, housing, youth development, economic equity, and social justice – including 100 Black Men, Bay Area PLAN, the Black Literary Collective, the Brotherhood of Elders Network, Cinnamongirl, East Bay Housing Organizations, Kingmakers of Oakland, Positive Communication Practices, Self eSTEM, Urban Strategies Council, We Lead Ours, and many others.

As voters, we can hold our elected officials accountable to represent the will of the citizens in our community, not their own personal interests. We encourage Black, brown, allied, and new voters to use the Black Lives Voter Guide to inform their vote. When we uplift the most marginalized among us, we all win.

My Story

I grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, raised by my mom, a social worker, in a neighborhood very similar to East Oakland. I’ve lived in the Bay for 22 years, and in Oakland for 13. This is home. After more than 30 years of giving to my community as a volunteer, I felt a tap on the shoulder from my ancestors telling me it was time to get involved in a different way. This work is now my focus. I’m inspired by my brothers and sisters in the movement who have been putting in work, fighting for equal rights and justice. I’m inspired by our local artists who bring awareness to the movement, and by the allies who stand with us.

When we uplift the most marginalized among us, we all win.

When my kids are older, and I tell them about this movement and all the challenges we faced during this time, my story won’t be that I huddled in my comfort zone and waited for someone else to do something. I choose to be an active participant in the liberation of systemically marginalized people.

I hope you appreciate this work, and use it to inform your vote. Please look up a local Black social justice organization you believe in, and contribute to its efforts. Power to the people!

How your vote affects Black lives: Berkeley professor creates Black Lives Voter Guide (ABC7 News)

Founded by Kevin Hill, Akoben Organizing is a community-centered consultancy focused on inter-organizational research, capacity-building, and program development. We work with nonprofits, community groups, foundations, and government entities to empower marginalized communities.

Voter Quotes

"Today an unhoused neighbor ran my doorbell, ballot in hand, not knowing how he wanted to vote on any issue except the presidency. I used your voter guide to walk through the entire ballot with him. It was so great to consult a source we trusted to help guide our decisions. Thank you!"

"I just went through the guide and I love it. It is clear, easy to navigate, and motivating."

"Thank you for the guide. As a white senior citizen, I realize I’ve been part of the problem."

"Incredibly helpful to have trustworthy guidance on the local elections."

"I love how you summarize divergent opinions."

"This is brilliant. Could you please do this for Los Angeles as well?"

"Used your voter guide last night to vote! Thank you for putting your passion into action, and helping others around you do the same."

Special Thanks

First and foremost to my ancestors, whose energy guides me through this work.
And to my wife, whose unwavering support made this possible. Thanks Jenny!

Dwayne Aikens
Adamaka Ajaelo
Bay Area Black Professionals Group
Amber Blackwell
Coron Brinson
Gloria Bruce, East Bay Housing Organizations
Neale Clune, 100 Black Men
Jenny Des Jarlais

Nedra Elaine Ginwright
David Harris
Renee Richard, Cinnamongirl
Lori Fenstermaker
Pecolia Manigo
Kelvin Potts, Positive Communication Practices
So many others