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June 28, 2011

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Lionel

Hello, I'm actually an alumni from the first graduating class of MLA and am currently a senior at Caliornia College for the Arts doing industrial design and community arts. My fear for MLA is a certain gentrification that I see there (specifically staring from k-3, as the middle school is still predominantly Latino. Do you fear that poorer working class people of color are slowly getting kicked out in wave of affluent white parents? Or can there be a middle ground where our schools more accurately reflect our very diverse town?

Either way, thanks for the pictures. I still have memories of expo when we were the first to be there and still talk to a few teachers (although most have left)

bryan farley

Thank you for commenting Lionel, and congratulations for making it to CCA; CCA is an excellent college.

You present several interesting questions, and my answers might not address them directly, in part, because I am a parent.

You asked if I "feared that poorer working class people of color are slowly getting kicked out" of MLA. First, now that I am a parent, I am more self-interested. I usually only fear something if it has to do with my children's immediate safety, so I do not really "fear" something like gentrification or the lack of gentrification. However, part of what makes MLA special is the cultural experience. Our children experience diversity. They do not just read about it. They live it.

Regarding "the wave of affluent white parents." While Oakland has some rich white people, we are still recruiting more rich folks. (I say that humorously, but truthfully.) Our school has become whiter and wealthier than the original MLA, but we are by no means a hill school. Many of us live in the neighborhood and many of the English only families are not white. We have a way to go before we reach the middle ground you mentioned, but I do not know that we want to go that far. At least half of the school will always be native Spanish speakers.

While the school is changing, it will always retain its community involvement component. Now that you are a college senior, we would expect you to return to the school more often to inspire students. You would be amazed how much your story could change the lives of current students.

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