A group of formerly incarcerated people joined community members and organizations to provide food and cleaning supplies to needy families in the Oakland area.
The Oakland Post reported in June the men recently paroled from San Quentin aimed to give back to their community, calling their effort “Comm-Unity.”
Richard Johnson coined the slogan “Comm-Unity,” which means common unity, a phrase that he describes as being unified for a common cause. No matter what part of the town you are from or what religious belief you have, Johnson wants people to come together to commemorate June 5, as “A Day of Giving.”
“When I got out, I had made a promise to Paul Cobb that I would change the youth,” said Johnson. “I wanted to give back to the community I took so much from and make it better. So, when I got my medical COVID parole on Jan. 29, I got right on it. I’m now working, I’m off my ankle bracelet as of March 30 and I was actually found suitable just recently. So, now the sky’s the limit.”
Many turned up to support the effort and partake in the day. Bay Area rapper Mr. Fab, along with over 200 volunteers from all walks of life and foundations, showed up to pass out what was described as a huge number of boxes of food. According to Johnson, it all weighed 300 tons, so the needy had plenty to carry.
Hygiene and cleaning supplies were also distributed to nearly a two-mile-long line of folks in waiting cars.
“What was remarkable was the participation of those who were formerly incarcerated,” said Johnson. The outstanding gesture the group made was not only giving away food to the needy present, but they also delivered to the elderly nearby who did not have transportation. They also gave the leftover boxes of food and supplies to nonprofits that serviced the needy.
The needy chose their own items out of 52 selections that included Cheez-Its, granola bars, Ritz crackers, fruits, veggies and meats. People were able to take away groceries that would sustain them for at least a month, said the article.
“I was moved by the tears and shouts of joy from some families with their children when they were showered with boxes of food and cleaning supplies that literally loaded down their vehicles,” said Johnson.
“I met with a lot of people and I plan to work with them and do a lot more things like this for the community. A lot of the guys who paroled and myself are planning to continue on this path of giving and creating some things to curb the violence out here in Oakland. And for guys who haven’t made it out yet, just know that if you can dream it, you can do it. It’s a lot of opportunity, just seize the time,” said Johnson.
Other volunteers mentioned were; Oakland Post Newspaper Group, Trybe, Deeply Rooted, Ronald Muhammad, Ear Hustle’s John “YaYa” Johnson, Missy Percy, Jamil Wilson, attorney Anne Wells, ROC’S Richard Corral, Lee Oliveres, Jesus P. Peruero, Ricky “Styles” Ricardo, Paul Redd, Savior Charles, Arnold Torres, Gabe Zuniga, Rudy Yanez, Rolando Coffman, Janelle Marie Charles of Epsilon Phi Zeta, Mrs. Marsha Woodfork of Zeta Amicae of the Epsilon Phi Zeta, the Black Firefighters Association, Felicia Bryant, Mr. Fab’s Dope Era Clothing Store, Cesar Cruz’s Homie’s Empowerment, The Oakland Gumbo Cultural Group, Amina Nicole, Queen Johnson, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, and several elected officials including District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife.