Saturday, December 5

Tag: West Oakland

An Iranian-American Walks Common Ground with West Oakland’s Homeless
Demographics, Events

An Iranian-American Walks Common Ground with West Oakland’s Homeless

By Sharon Simonson The mean streets of West Oakland seem an odd place to uncover kinship and hope. But that’s what Iranian-American filmmaker Amir Soltani found as he made his 95-minute documentary, “Dogtown Redemption,” about the homeless recyclers who make their lives there. Though his family came to America when he was 16 years old, pushed from their homeland by the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and he attended high school in Boston and later Harvard University in Cambridge on a scholarship, it wasn’t until he moved to Oakland eight years ago that he felt true community in the U.S. What he discovered in West Oakland were people, who — like immigrants and refugees — had lost their connections to family and friends and their lifelines to better lives. As he learned the daily ri...
Bean Power Hodo Soy Style
Demographics

Bean Power Hodo Soy Style

By Sharon Simonson WEST OAKLAND—For an instant after Minh Tsai opens the metal front door of his West Oakland tofu manufacturing plant, I wonder, ‘Who is this man?’ The Hodo Soy founder and chief executive is dressed in a hairnet, a faded blue, crew-neck long-sleeved t-shirt and sagging blue jeans. My mind connects the face to a photo on the company's website. A note taped to the front door instructs visitors to call to announce their arrival. “We’ll send someone out to get you,” the receptionist’s voice crackled through the intercom after I call. A moment later, Minh pushes open the door with a smile and beckons me inside. I had not expected the company founder to wear a hairnet. The Viet Nam Project He leads me into a small dark room, separated from a factory floo...