The HOMIES Empowerment Newsletter

Our women leaders taking a picture in front of the FREEdom Farm Banner
We have had such a busy and amazing past few months at Homies Empowerment, and also looking ahead we have some amazing work that is blooming at Homies.

It is with great excitement that we announce the opening of FREEdom Farm inspired by the late great civil rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer. In the last 8 years of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer opened up the FREEdom Farm Coop so that people can go from merely surviving to sustaining themselves. In that light, we seek to do the same. We are opening up our very own FREEdom Farm, a 20,000 s/f of land at 10451 MacArthur Blvd. in East Oakland. Our opening day was Saturday, March 12 from 10-3 pm. We invited our families, friends, and allies to assist us in caring for the land. 

We welcome our community to be founding partners of the FREEdom Farm. We plan to also utilize the land for healing, the arts, culture and to honor our earth and its inhabitants

Thank you all for your hard and heart-work. Please consider becoming a monthly sustainer on our website as it takes a barrio for us to uplift each other. 
Blessings to you all,
Dr. Cesar A. Cruz, on behalf of Homies Empowerment
Click to see the FREEdom Farm pictures
All the team members, volunteers, and local community joining together to work, to pray and bless the land. 
A link to the SF Chronicle about this land acquisition written by community journalist, Jessica Flores
We even had Ms. Tarika Lewis, the first woman Black Panther Party member who started the original Free Breakfast program for black and brown students in Oakland in the late 60's which then inspired the schools and the US government to create free breakfast programs for our youth across the United States. She was our guest speaker and she shared with us her experiences, thoughts, and inspirations and why it was important to do this work.
Click here to see and hear Ms. Tarika and our team in a short video on IG
The Free Breakfast Program is now 5 days a week at the HOMIES Headquarters
We serve various types of nutritious breakfast five days a week in the morning for Oakland youth and their families. We were inspired by the Black Panther party's Free Breakfast Program. With the support of the YFP Youth Food Project and a handful of our amazing restaurant partners led by Community Kitchens, we are able to provide meals like these vegetarian Pupusas to our local elementary, middle, and high school students. That way they can go to school and be prepared to compete academically with other students that come from families or neighborhoods that are more in financially stable positions. Please spread the news! 
Learn more about Community Kitchens and how they're helping local businesses and Oaklanders by clicking here
Oakland elementary students stop by in the morning before school to pick up some free breakfast before attending class.
Scroll down to read more about our work!
Community Update!

The Golden State Warriors today announced celebrations for Women’s Empowerment Month, presented by Chase, aimed to empower girls and women, challenge socio-economic norms and amplify voices to establish an equal playing field for women.

The Warriors and Chase will celebrate Women’s Empowerment Month during the team’s first home game of the month and through a variety of activations including giveaways, donations to programming for Girls, and some additional upcoming Women’s Empowerment Month activation including the Chica Series. 

Check out the Instagram post here
Check out an Instagram video of our CHICAS here
Our Chica Warriors with some of our Latina leaders in the community

Warriors Basketball Academy Community Clinic Chicas Series, presented by NBC Bay Area, Telemundo 48 & NBC Sports Bay Area – Warriors Basketball Academy hosted weekly clinics (March 14, 21, 28) for middle school Latina girls from Homies Empowerment and Urban Promise Academy at the team’s Oakland facility. 
Check out more pictures with the Chicas and Juan Toscano Anderson here
What a blessing to get to meet and be inspired by @warriors player and Oakland Native, JTA @juanonjuan10!

He and his family came to visit our student-athletes and inspired the to embrace themselves, be themselves, and work hard to go after their dreams!
#ittakesabarrio #oakland #homiesempowerment 
The Oakland community and Dr. Cruz honored JTA and presented him with a humble gift from our community. Click here to see the video. 
The Warriors Community Foundation celebrates Womens Herstory Month and Latinx Heritage and highglihts HOMIES/ HECHOS student athletes! 
@dubscommunity @juanonjuan10 alongside NBC’s @kerithburke surprised the group of girls participating in the @gswacademy Community Clinic: Chicas Series.

This program allows students to learn the importance of physical and mental health by attending basketball training.

The Girls/ Chicas received @nike shoes, tickets to a Warriors game, and more! Huge thanks to @nbcsauthentic@nbcbayarea and @telemundo48 👏

Thank you so much for helping elevate and highlight our young Chica’s / student-athletes from UPA Urban Promise Academy & HOMIES/ HECHOS in Oakland during Women’s Herstory Month.  @upawarriors4justice@urbanpromiseacademy @kerithburke @nbcbayarea @warriors @dubscommunity 

Celebrating our team and our community with NISN

NISN (NACA Inspired Schools Network) comes to visit and meets HOMIES Empowerment team! 
The NACA INSPIRED SCHOOLS NETWORK (NISN) is building a movement of students, families, and educators to create excellent schools relevant to the communities they serve. NISN works with fellows who are committed to indigenous communities to establish schools throughout the country that will create strong leaders who are academically prepared, secure in their identities, healthy, and ultimately transforming their communities

NACA is coaching and working with Dr. Cruz and HECHOS / HOMIES High School design team with launching our High School for students and families of Oakland. Please consider being a founding parent, teacher, staff, and/or student. Learn more by clicking here and helping us with getting HECHOS | HOMIES HIGH SCHOOL started
Click here to see more pictures of NISN meeting HOMIES at the FREEdom Farm

 FREEdom store UPDATES  

We've been updating the Freedom Store Headquarters starting off with taking off the carpet and replacing it with some floor tiling for a smoother transition of our products in and out as well as beautifying the space for our community. The construction continues. 
Instagram Instagram
Check out one of many of our IG videos on the FREEdom Store here
Check out a FREEdom Store video here
If you and your family need some essentials make sure to visit us on Freedom Store Tuesdays to get some FREE groceries, toiletries and essentials from 10am-3pm
Homies Empowerment recently received an approval email for the State’s Testing Task Force OTC “At-Home” Testing program. Pretty soon we will be able to register the community on-site to get a free covid test box (2 tests included)
You got cuties? We got cuties too! Greg and Jeffrey bring out some Cuties diapers that we give out for free to the neighborhood mothers and their cuties! Shout out to the amazing HELP A MOTHER OUT team and organization for their contributions so that we can do this for 'FREE' and the FREEDOM STORE
Don Mauricio stacks up the diapers in our storage while HELP A MOTHER OUT team, Rachel, Tennema and Emily pays us a visit with Karolina from Camelback Ventures  and Karen from  OAKLAND ROOTS 
The HOMIES Empowerment Freedom Store appreciates our ongoing partnership with La Familia, Roots Empowerment and Resilient Fruitvale for our pod coalitions to provide Covid vaccines and boosters to community that requests them for free! 
Mayor Libby Shaaf and Oakland Undivided visits the FREEdom Store
We appreciate the visit by Oakland Mayor Libby Shaaf along with David and the Oakland Undivided team for providing access to internet connection, & technology support in the homes of our community members
Rico and Yolanda getting to talk to Mayor Shaaf and voicing some our concerns and needs in our community.

East Oakland Survives, Sustains and Thrives with the support of HOMIES Empowerment

East Oakland Survives, Sustains and Thrives with the support of HOMIES Empowerment

Fishes and Loaves Outreach Updates! 

City officials have ordered the displacement of whole communities of unhoused people in local encampments for the unhoused.  To meet the crisis, The Homies Empowerment's Fishes and Loaves team has stepped up its efforts to offer not only food but housing referrals and resources to citizens in crisis.  
Click here to read an article about HOMIES Empowerment supporting 2 unhoused pregnant women displaced by the City of Oakland
Click here to see one of our Fishes and Loaves videos on IG
Fishes and Loaves team serving our unhoused and houseless relatives in East Oakland
Yolanda and OG Rev at one of the Hotels where we placed 2 of our unhoused relatives that have been displaced by the city of Oakland.

OG Rev and Dr. Cruz talking and supporting one of our unhoused community members in East Oakland by helping them get custody of their family members. 

HOMIES Empowerment and NISN family out in the houseless encampments to deliver hot meals, toiletries and other essentials.
Check out another video on IG about Fishes and Loaves
The HOMIES Empowerment Care Center Update!

The Care Center is opening up to the community!

HOMIES is in the process of revamping our community Care Center.  Community members can come to the care center to get gently used clothing and baby goods from our Care Center Closet.  We provide referrals to resources, access to computers and printers, sign up for the Love Packages program, support from the care team, and a safe space to relax. We are committed to providing physical, emotional, and tangible support in the areas of food insecurity, mental health, housing, and wellness. It is our belief that it takes a barrio to heal a community.  

We would like to welcome you with love to the grand opening of the Care Center coming up soon! Please come and tour the facility and enjoy some refreshments with the care family.

Care Center hours of Operation

Monday through Friday 10 - 4.

Community Closet Hours 

Monday through Wednesday  10 - 1

Care Manager Drop-in Hours 

Monday Through Wednesday  2- 4

Computer Lab Drop-in Hours  

Monday & Wednesday 1- 4

Families hanging out outside of the Care Center

The Love Packages Update!

The Love Package program is a program that aids and connects with families that are not able to leave their homes whether they have COVID, are not well, or have ability or mobility challenges. We go out and deliver items from dry goods, to fresh produce, to pet food as well as toiletries and anything that they might need. We started off working from the Freedom store and have been moving offices since then. We now are in the works of moving into Homies Care Center and will soon be open to the public. Our weekly drop-offs are Friday mornings and check-ins are Monday mornings. We are currently a small team that consists of Angelica and Vanessa. You'll be hearing from us soon! 

Request: A community member is asking for a car seat. Please let us know if you have one to donate!

HECHOS | HOMIES  HIGH School Update! 

Our school design and Board members have decided to choose the independent and sovereign path, for our school.  We will be doing so in the barrio, at no cost to families and students.  

To read more about “Our Story” please check out our website here:

Homies Empowerment is in the process of creating our high school, HECHOS | The Homies High School.  On March 25th our school design team, Dr. Cruz and Rubi Pelayo were at West Oakland middle school to table and share resources with students

Dr. G.T. Reyes, HOMIES board member and Professor at CALSTATE East Bay, presenting to the NISN Fellows about the HECHOS HOMIES High School design and goals.
Oakland HS teacher and SF State Professor, Dr. Jeff Duncan Andrade shared his knowledge and wisdom to NISN and HOMIES family by giving some advice and guidance on creating an intentional school.
Ms. Tarkia Lewis, the first woman Black Panther Party member, schools and shares her wealth of knowledge and experience when she was creating educational programming for The Black Panthers.

NISN Fellows, HOMIES Staff and Ms. Tarika Lewis takes a group picture together at the HOMIES Empowerment Learning Center.
More About HOMIES visit our website
Dr. Cesar Cruz speaks at the March against Oakland School Closures in Oakland

Thank you to all the students, parents, teachers, and community members that came out and supported the March against school closures here in Oakland last Saturday. We’re in solidarity with the people and most importantly, the youth of Oakland. Thank you for inviting us and asking is to be part of this powerful March.
Click here to see more pictures of the March against school closures in Oakland
In partnership with UCAP, we are developing a new program that is supporting unaccompanied minors. We have connected with 3 youth, thanks to our beloved team who have consistently provided support and resources. Rogelio, Goy, Selena and Jazmin, are dreaming more about the program.

Stay tuned for more updates on our LIL' HOMIES Program!
One of our LIL' HOMIES youth participants helping and volunteering with giving out Diapers at the FREEdom Store on Tuesdays.

The Block Clean Up Crew Update!

Lead Caretakers: Jose and Florentina/Yolanda   -  BCP Crew: Leo, Zahir

We asked our Block Clean Up Crew who are all High School students

1) How has it been and what are the challenges of working while attending high school?

2) What are some benefits or things that you like working at HOMIES? 
and this is what they said.

"Going to school while attending school is not all that bad."
"What I like about it is that everybody is very welcoming and super chill"
- Leo

"Everything has been good and getting some experience".
"The challenge for me is waking up early right now that it's finals and I’m working harder in class and turning in stuff that has deadlines."
"Another benefit working at HOMIES is they support us with school is first and then work".
- Jose

"Waking up early to work and then going to school and back to work is a challenge because I run off a couple of hours of sleep".
"Some benefit from working at HOMIES is that I get to learn how to communicate with the community and how to help out our folks with needs".
- Zahir

Block Clean Up Crew BCUC is the lead team that cleans and restocks the town fridge and beautifies our streets. 

Caretaker of Partnerships Update! 

It truly Takes a Barrio 

We are very grateful to the Stupski Foundation for seeing our vision! Stupski’s investment in Homies Empowerment will allow us to strategically plan the next phase of our food programming. We are ready to move from community-responsive food survival programs towards a community-led thriving food ecosystem in deep East Oakland, including land to grow food, a cafe and a healthy food market. Our dream is to have community options where income isn’t a barrier to healthy food.

Thank you to our amazing partner HAMO for facilitating a very large diaper donation!! We spent a long day in the community unloading 50 pallets of diapers. We had some fun and tacos too!



Shout out to our friends at Camelback Ventures for the coaching and supporting our leader, Dr. Cruz

Our friends and allies at Argent Materialfor the donation of a storage for our FREEdom Farm

And our friends and allies at Mandela Partners and Mandela Produce for the ongoing support with giving of produce for our community.
To support the work of HOMIES Empowerment you can donate your time, energy or your funds here
Donate to HOMIES Empowerment
What's Coming Up Next!?!?

The Care Center Grand Opening in May 2022
The FREEdom FARM Planter box build up on May 2022


HOMIES Empowerment Schedule


Mondays - Store Prep / Leadership Meetings/ Block Clean Up / Free Breakfast Program
Tuesdays - Freedom Store & Love Package Deliveries 10-3pm / / Free Breakfast Program
Wednesdays - Care Team Office Times* / Block Clean Up / Free Breakfast Program
Thursdays - Freedom Store Staff meetings /  Block Clean Up/ / Free Breakfast Program
Fridays - Fishes & Loaves Program  / Block Clean Up/ All Staff Meetings/ / Free Breakfast Program


Find Out More
Copyright © *2022* *Homies Empowerment*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

HOMIES Empowerment Headquarters 7631 MacArthur Boulevard 
HOMIES Empowerment Learning Center 2635 Seminary Avenue  
HOMIES Empowerment Care Center 7645 MacArthur Boulevard  
HOMIES Empowerment Freedom Farm 10451 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland, CA

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Homies Empowerment · 7631 MacArthur Blvd · Oakland, CA 94605-2943 · USA

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