Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Scraper Bikes for Life" Saves Lives in Oakland

On a recent afternoon, the skateboard park was the most populated section of gritty DeFremery Park in West Oakland. In this working class area, with unemployment, crime, violence and gentrification, just under the giant shipping cranes from the nearby Port of Oakland, a dozen skateboard enthusiasts, boys and young men, glided up and down the complicated series of ramps and jumps over and over, without saying a word. The calm was was suddenly interrupted by the arrival of The Original Scraper Bike crew.

This is a neighborhood where, much like boys everywhere, youth spend their summer days gazing at the passing traffic, fantasizing about the car of their future, the car of their dreams. But unlike their more affluent counterparts with stable homes and intact families, a car of one's own may be financially out of reach. After all, how many boys from this struggling neighborhood, in a bad economy, will be able to purchase and maintain a customized automobile, when one week, they may "stay with" their grandma, and the next, at their "play sister" or "auntie's" house? Where "family stuff," spoken with downcast eyes, is the reason given for not being able to stay in school or keep a job?


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