Oakland’s Defremery Park has a special place in Oakland history because of the role it played in the late 60s to convene Oakland’s black community in defense of Huey P. Newton when he was charged for the murder of a police officer. Town Park’s history is relatively recent but the spirit of the Black Panthers struggles for equal protection and civic participation is not lost since the funds to build out Town Park were raised by and for the West Oakland community. Empowering projects like this are remarkable because they also empower those who both work on and benefit from opening public space.
Taken during one of Oakland’s most meaningful, community driven festivals, Life Is Living, this set captures the dynamic energy and form. Beside the main stage, good food, and healthy, balanced living theme, I often visit to see the Extreme sports that go on in a section of Defremery Park known as Town Park. In true gonzo photography fashion, what the camera froze on frame shows that the lens is an active participant in the way subject’s act and react in front of it. I went of my way to publish some of these because it was evident the young men in them went out of their way to give me fabulous shots. I was very appreciative of their “hard skating” and the way they tolerated an intruding eye as they glide and bust tricks on their magic carpets.