Stop a local on the street in Fruitvale and ask them if they are familiar with The Unity Council. You’ll encounter an ear to ear smile. The sense of belonging this social equity organization creates for the Fruitvale neighborhood (and beyond!) is second to none. Founded during the US Civil Rights Movement, out of a profound commitment by local leaders to represent the Latino community, The Unity Council has grown its resources to take care of all its residents, of all ages and all backgrounds. 

The Unity Council literally has a program for every stage of life, offering prenatal services, youth programs, employment and career services, and senior housing communities, to name a few. Even the physical surroundings of the Fruitvale have been built and beautified by the organization. Have you been to Fruitvale Village? Brainchild of The Unity Council, this mixed-use development project created the inclusive, indoor and outdoor space necessary to bring neighbors together in shared purpose, serving as an inspiration hub for many community events.

The not-to miss crown jewel event of The Unity Council?

Dia De Los Muertos. Where can you find it? On International Blvd between Fruitvale Avenue and 42nd Avenue on October 31st.

This event attracts over 100,000 people as the entire neighborhood gathers outdoors to celebrate ancestors who have come before us and Mexican culture at large. Start the morning with a prayer led by Aztec folkloric dancers and enjoy their feathery costuming adjourned with the four elements, earth, wind, water, and fire. Visit the ofrendas or alters created by local artisans in deference and reverence to Los Muertos. Listen to traditional music, play games with family, and visit the vendor market. As dusk falls, the candles begin to glow, illuminating the faces of friendly calaveras.

Go and honor your community and those who came before you (just like The Unity Council does every day) on October 31st in the Fruitvale.

Need a little more inspiration?

Read more on Vibemap about what the Fruitvale neighborhood and the city of Oakland have to offer you.

About the Author:

Jackie Gibbons

Acknowledges the beauty and power of interdisciplinary problem solving. Studies in psychology and urban design and a career in the performing arts have been her main catalysts. A founding team member at Vibemap, here she continues her exploration of building societal infrastructure of empathy, trust, equity, happiness and possibility. Jackie’s vibes: Absurdly Joyous, Buzzing, Togetherness, Artsy, Kidcore, Going Rogue when she needs to. Follow @jackieggibbons