Olympian Billy Mills on running, racism, and reaching unity through understanding

Olympian Billy Mills on running, racism, and reaching unity through understanding

As a young man studying at the University of Kansas, Billy Mills pursued a dream: to run in order to heal a broken soul. Billy lost his mother at age 8 and his father at age 12. Growing up within his Oglala Lakota community on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota he remembered his father telling him that he had broken wings. As a means to remedy this, his father encouraged Billy to try sports. After years of training through passion and hard work, he went on to compete in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games as an underdog, unranked in the United States, although he had the 8th fastest time in the world. It was here he was able to defy expectations and in the final lap of the 10,000 meter race pull ahead of the the rest to win gold for the United States, the only American in Olympic history to have ever done so in this category.

Billy later went on to help found Running Strong for American Indian Youth along with Eugene Krizek, a foundation dedicated to helping provide resources and hope to native communities around the country both on and off reservations. Today he is the foundation's spokesperson, and on Saturday, October 7 he will be speaking about his inspirational win at the All Nations Run 3k and 5k in Shingle Springs, CA. The event is being hosted by the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians and the Shingle Springs Health & Wellness Center with proceeds from the event benefitting the Running Strong Foundation.

Michael Glascock (left) and Billy Mills (right). Michael has attended the All Nations Run in previous years, and here he proudly shows off the gold medal he won in the "Best Striped Shirt" category. Click here to register for Saturday's race!

Michael Glascock (left) and Billy Mills (right). Michael has attended the All Nations Run in previous years, and here he proudly shows off the gold medal he won in the "Best Striped Shirt" category. Click here to register for Saturday's race!

Prior to the Running Strong Foundation and his Olympic career however, Billy found himself ready to commit suicide. “I wasn't ready for the racism in America,” he explained during an interview we had at his home one recent Friday afternoon. As a runner at his University, Billy says he was often asked to step out of the shot during group photo shoots. He quickly realized it was due to his Lakota heritage, adding yet another instance of racism for him to grapple with. “The third time I'm asked to get out of a photo, I broke. I'm on the verge of suicide.” But before he could, a voice that sounded like his father’s said, “Don't,” explaining if he kept going, someday he would have “wings of an eagle.” So Billy kept going with the confidence that he had been given “the ability not to win a gold medal, but to win a gold medal to heal a broken soul.” This became his dream. After marrying his wife Pat, serving as an officer in the Marines, and years of training hard, he saw this dream come to fruition during the Tokyo games. Mills says that there was a point during the final 95 meters of the run where he saw the embroidered image of an eagle on a German runner’s racing singlet, and was able to recall his father's words and know that he was going to win—even if he didn't get to the finish line first.

“I healed a broken soul, and in the process I won a gold medal. That moment was a gift and I wanted to give back.”

Winning did not end racism towards Mills and other members of his community however, and is still a presence felt by the hundreds of Native communities across the country. Billy says he has received death threats in the past, and can count 8 different occasions in recent years where people have used the term “prairie n***er” against him. He also makes clear that these are not isolated instances—Native Americans are regularly the victims of hateful rhetoric, and this particularly impacts Native youth. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, suicide is the second leading cause of death behind accidental death for Native youth ages 8 to 24, and there are much higher rates of suicidal behavior by youth reported in indigenous communities than any other racialized group.

Pat (center, left) and Billy Mills (center, right) march in 2004 alongside Running Strong and other organizations to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by Bill Koplitz

Pat (center, left) and Billy Mills (center, right) march in 2004 alongside Running Strong and other organizations to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by Bill Koplitz

“We have a beautiful country, and we've done wonderful things throughout the world,” says Mills. Still, events unfolding around our country today both frustrate and sadden him. “How far back are we going to go? Do we go back to the Doctrine of Discovery? Do we go back to Manifest Destiny? I think one of the moves that might happen if things continue the way they are, [is that] Congress with a stroke of a pen can totally eliminate the treaty rights that have been fought for. And tribal nations [own] 5-35% of the last known natural resources in America. We own it, but we don't control it.”

“We have US senators, US Congregational representatives elected to represent state sovereignties making decisions on tribal sovereignty. Therein lies the conflict. It would be like the senators from California, the congregational representatives from California making decisions for the constituency in South Dakota. So fundamental change there is going to be difficult.”

Mills points to the Doctrine of Discovery (tying into Manifest Destiny, which relies on the the belief that the land on which what many call the United States currently exists was a gift to European settlers from God) as one of the fundamental principles used time and time again to justify ugly events from our country's past and present. He also stresses that he is not attacking Christianity by saying this, stating that people were merely able to manipulate Christianity for their own benefit. From the taking of indigenous lands to the genocide of native people throughout history, as well as broken treaties, slavery, Jim Crow, the use of the racial epithet “redskin” for a football team name, and the many examples of systematic racism that persist today, Billy believes that the fundamental lack of education and reflection on the dark realities of how the United States came to be prevents us from healing and moving forward together in unison.

For example, Mills offers a different way of looking at current NFL protests. As a veteran of the Marines and someone who has heard the national anthem in a sports arena, he understands the beautiful feeling of pride that can occur when one hears the anthem. Nevertheless, hearing it played also reminds him of all the work that is left to be done in our country. “The third stanza of our national anthem. You know what it says? It excludes people in bondage. So our national anthem is for everybody except the people in bondage, and in bondage at that point was the free Black person, the slave, and the Indian, so our national anthem today excludes them. That's the basis of the issue today and we don't talk about it. I would have every high school, every college, every business corporation discussing it. Just take it line by line and discuss it.” The third stanza he is making reference to here is a lesser known part of the national anthem, as we typically only sing the first stanza. You can read the anthem in its entirety here. The last sentence in the third stanza reads as follows:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In Mills's opinion, what we need to be focusing on here in the United States is education on these issues that impact people's lives on a daily basis. Some Americans have an understanding of these laws and their histories, while the majority do not. On Mills's part, he says he had a lot of learning to do before he reached the understanding of them that he carries today. During the 2008 US presidential elections Billy was reading multiple books a week in an effort to educate himself fully on the systems at play. He would ask friends from around the world, including Olympians, scholars, and other members of the global community, about their own unique perspectives. It was clear to him they received a better education on subjects such as the Doctrine of Discovery than the majority of Americans seem to have, so he valued their views. “They would ask me, 'have you studied your own history?' And I would say, 'yes'. Then I'd come back and start studying more to understand where they were coming from.”

Billy Mills (left) competes with friend and fellow runner Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia (right) in the 1964 10K race. Gammoudi took home the silver medal. Photo by the Associated Press

Billy Mills (left) competes with friend and fellow runner Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia (right) in the 1964 10K race. Gammoudi took home the silver medal. Photo by the Associated Press

In all, Billy seems hopeful about our future, so long as we take the time to understand how our paths led us here. As the child of a mother who was a quarter Lakota, and a father who was three quarters Lakota, he has seen life through a lens of intersectionality. “I started putting all that together—why I came so close to suicide. I know what is is to be broken, and yet, the other half of me on occasion was offered what is being called white privilege. And the only way I can describe white privilege is a very innocent, very positive, confident righteousness. [It is having an] expectation of what you can do, and not realizing the roadblocks that are removed for you.” Mills told a story about ordering lunch at a restaurant with a corporal friend while he was in the Marines. Yet when it came time to eat, the corporal, who was also African American, was told he would have to eat in the kitchen. Billy followed him into the kitchen to eat with him, but after asking Billy to leave, and Billy refusing, both were told to leave and they took their food elsewhere. “I have to count on him, he has to count on me, in case of war. We have to understand one another.” At the same time, Mills understood he could not escape the rampant racism towards people of color in the United States. As a youth he knew he would never be afforded the American Dream, and realizes today that the only reason he achieved it was through a successful running career.

Billy Mills's 1964 Olympic Medal, alongside other running memorabilia from over the years. Use of this photograph courtesy of Dominic Mills, Billy's grandson and current medal owner. 

Billy Mills's 1964 Olympic Medal, alongside other running memorabilia from over the years. Use of this photograph courtesy of Dominic Mills, Billy's grandson and current medal owner. 

Through running, Billy healed himself. When asked why he chose running, Mills laughed and said it was a process of elimination. He tried rodeo (“That hurt,” he smiled). Later he tried boxing, and he also played basketball but ended up scoring 2 points for the wrong team. Running he was good at, and it carried him through difficult times.

Near the end of the interview Billy's wife Pat came out to sit with us. An accomplished painter, Pat and Billy have been married for over 50 years. When Billy realized he had won gold in Tokyo, the first person he asked to see was her. Some playful banter ensued between the two about how they first met. Both remembered it a bit differently—it's clear they've had this discussion several times before. One can tell however that neither of them really care about coming up with an answer so much as remembering a long and happy life together with their four daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  

Today, Mills works alongside the Running Strong Foundation, giving speeches like the one he will be giving this Saturday at the All Nations Run in the hopes of inspiring people to strive for their full potential. Billy Mills's story is one of exemplary courage and perseverance. Yet he needed help and guidance, and while he realizes this same level of courage and perseverance lives within the hearts and souls of Native youth everywhere, Mills has recognized that many of them also need the opportunity to receive a hope similar to that which he has been given by his family and culture.   

When Billy went to find the German runner after the race to tell him how the eagle on his singlet had inspired him to win, he found that there wasn't one anywhere on their uniform. “It was simply a perception.” A perception that helped bring him the wings of an eagle.

 

The best way to hear Billy Mills's story in its entirety about his inspirational 1964 Tokyo win is by attending the All Nations Run this Saturday, October 7th. This family friendly run will feature a 3k and 5k, which you are welcome to walk or run. Obstacles and Halloween costumes will be a fun and optional part of the event, and prizes will be given for the best costume! A BBQ lunch after the run will be held where Billy will speak. Pre-registration includes a race shirt, medal, and lunch, but race day registration is available also, with shirts and medals being available while supplies last.

 

TIME:

     10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

LOCATION:

     Shingle Springs Rancheria's Event Field

     Shingle Springs Dr & Lincoln Hwy & US-50

     California 95682

PRE-REGISTRATION:

     $20 General/Adult (18 years and older)

     $10 Student and Children (12 and under)

     $5 Participant's Guest, Lunch Only

RACE DAY REGISTRATION

     $25 General/Adult (18 years and older)

     $15 Student and Children (12 and under)

     $5 Participant's Guest, Lunch Only

Keeping "Slow Food" Alive in Sacramento

Keeping "Slow Food" Alive in Sacramento

Keeping “Slow Food” Alive in Sacramento

By Katie Rubin | Photography by Zephyr McIntyre

 

“Really nice restaurants are like heavy bicycles with really soft tires.  They take a lot to get going and require a lot of speed to keep them stable.”  

Ed Roehr should know as he is the visionary chef behind 14th Street’s classy and cozy Bakery and Coffee Shop, Yellowbill, and the industrial-chic, ever popular, mid-town hotspot, Magpie.  

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And that’s just what Mr. Roehr is committed to doing; riding the bicycles of his restaurants as long and as hard as it takes to give Sacramento the fresh, whole, real foods he believes it truly deserves.

“Magpie is a Farm-to-Table restaurant,” says Roehr.  “I’ve always been interested in bringing the real food of our region straight to the plate…  The thing is, when people think the hand-made croissant we make with whole flour and real butter is the same as the frozen croissant you’re getting at [any chain coffee shop], that’s when we’re in trouble as a culture and a community, I think.”  

Ed Roehr, owner of Yellowbill Bakery and Coffee Shop.

Ed Roehr, owner of Yellowbill Bakery and Coffee Shop.

Ed would love to simply focus on his greatest passion: making amazing food for people, but because we, the people, don’t really know the difference between a frozen baked good, and one of his homemade gems (I just ate one- holy God, they’re incredible), he is often forced to spend a lot of time and energy, like any small business owner, educating the public about the value of his product, and telling a story that compels folks to listen.  

In recent years, Roehr has become an avid spokesperson for the Slow-Food movement, pioneered by Carlo Petrini in Italy.  First formed in protest of the building of a McDonald’s on a popular square in Italy, the Slow Food Movement stands as a proponent of the pleasure and the enjoyment of life.

Sitting down for a home-made meal, at a real dining room table, with one’s family and friends is the best way to “hold things together,” as Ed says, in a time when we are constantly being torn in a thousand directions with busy-ness, options, and endless distractions.

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Uncertain at first as to the value and validity of the slow food movement’s aims, Roehr found himself “buying in” emotionally while on a family trip to Italy.  

“I was sitting there in this plaza, watching my son run around one evening during this massive meal the whole community was sharing, and I thought ‘There are 30,000 people in this area, and not one of those people is going to force his kids to eat nuggets in the backseat of the car tonight.”

And that’s when it hit him.  

“Just because we have so much abundance in America, doesn’t mean we have to spend all our time running…  Running from place to place and from experience to experience.  People are so hungry for change and variety.  We just want something new to happen to us.  We want to be entertained by our food.”

And while the food at Magpie is certain to entertain if not dazzle your taste buds, Ed finds himself longing for the brilliant simplicity of places like Caffe Rosso in Venice.  

“During the daytime,” Ed says,  “they make cappuccino and macchiato and croissants.  And in the evening, they make little sandwiches, and a spritz with Aperol.  And that’s it.  When I went there when I was 23 years old, they made those things.  And when I went back recently at age 40-something, it’s the same thing.  300-500 people a day go there.  There are tables outside, and everyone looks happy.  The woman who was the barista there when I was 23 is still there.  She’s the manager now.  Now, in America, we might call that stagnation, but I call it something simple that works.”

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So.  If you and your family could use some simplicity, some time together and some incredible real, whole food, head over to Yellowbill in the morning, and Magpie in the evening for a little taste of the delectable slow food movement.  Ed’s restaurants aren’t a small cafe in Italy.  But they’re infused with at least as much heart, passion and commitment.  

And hey.  Maybe take your time getting there.  Because really, at the end of the day, what’s the rush?

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Little Space, Big Taste

Little Space, Big Taste

By Jamie Worrall

Today you’ll find a much smaller Japantown here in Sacramento compared to what stood pre-WWII. It was relocated in 1957 after bulldozers and the Sacramento City Council moved forward with The Capitol Mall project and, in the process, uprooted our once-bustling 6-square-block Japanese community. These days, along 10th Street in Midtown Sacramento, mostly between T and W, a small cluster of Japanese owned businesses include Osaka-Ya, Sakura Gifts, June’s Cafe, and a new favorite-- Binchoyaki. This new eatery and small bar has caught the attention of many, including Michael Glascock who came in after noticing how crowded it was inside and then soon after reading about their chart-topping Duck Ramen plate in the Sacramento Bee. Learning that a Pocket-Greenhaven native, Craig Takehara and his wife Tokiko Sawada are behind Binchoyaki made him all the more proud of their success and we were eager to spread the word!

Binchoyaki is an Izakaya-style dining experience, or what in Japan would be your go-to after work gastropub where you meet up with friends or co-workers after a long day. Everything here is moderately portioned, but a plate or two per round of drinks should keep you more than satisfied. Binchoyaki seeks to be a Northern California bent on an Izakaya, so while it most definitely keeps Japanese beer on tap, and the authentic Binchotan (maple charcoal) is fired up on the smokeless grill, at the same time they are not afraid to throw some soul music on the speaker system and use French or European influences in a dish. Plus, they are using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, which here in our farm-to-fork capital is very much appreciated. The food is delicious and the sense of shared experience is too.

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Here in Sacto we have great Japanese food, but admittedly, mostly sushi. At Binchoyaki you get more eclectic Japanese offerings, ordered either from their grill menu, which burns between 1000-1500 degrees, or from their kitchen menu. If you need help ordering, Faith, our super knowledgable server, offers suggestions and answer questions about the dishes, happy to share methods, ingredients, and history when asked. You’ll also get a little insight into the preparation of your food watching the barbecues just on the other side of the low bar being expertly fanned while the various skewers of meats and veggies are flipped, added, and removed, some after 30 seconds and others not for 20 minutes. It would take a minimum of 6 months, Craig later estimated, to become merely a proficient Sumiyaki chef using those high-heat binchotan charcoals.

Owners Craig, originally from Sacramento, and Toki who is from the LA area, have been in “the industry” since even before the two met at the California School of Culinary Arts. In high-school Craig worked at Oto’s Maket on Freeport Boulevard as a fishmonger, butcher, and deli manager. Both Craig and Toki have culinary degrees, impressive resumes, and years of experience which give them a great depth and breadth of understanding in Japanese cuisine. After meeting 16 years ago they continued gaining experience in various fine dining restaurants, large hotels, and clubs, even serving celebrities such as Tom Cruise among others. Their lifestyle changed, however, in 2009 when they moved to Sacramento to start a family.  After having been headhunted to open 300-seat restaurants, world travel, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, he is happy here in Sacramento with his comparatively smaller locale. The goal is now to bring alive a variety of food and culture that has not been available to Sacramentans since the disappearance of a prosperous Japantown. And we are happy they have!

Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

For Craig, one of the greatest revelations after having been in business for almost a year here in Sacramento is how supportive other restaurants and managers from other places have been. “This is my first restaurant; my first time around,” muses Craig, “And it’s nice to have a group of people in Sacramento where not everything is competition.” He recognizes that our cultural identity here is different from that of the Bay Area, and that of LA, and believes in helping Sacramento create great food, whatever the variety, with a strong sense of camaraderie. At Binchoyaki, the expert ownership and the importance placed on countless tiny details amount to a concept as bold and basic as “Good food made well”, which, when it comes down to it, is as authentic here on the corner of 10th and W as it is novel.

 

A Duke, A Prince, A Year In Review

A Duke, A Prince, A Year In Review

By Alisa Chatham Sakowitz

In like a lion, out like a lamb?  

Not really.  Last year came in like a lion and went out like a bull.  An old-fashioned Market bull.  2017 seems to be off to a kinder and gentler start but 2016 wasn’t actually all that bad in the Markets. Culturally speaking – it was a different story.  

While the Markets started 2016 off with the worst start to a year in Market history 1, we also saw the loss of pop icons such as music legends David Bowie, Glenn Frey (The Eagles), actor Alan Rickman (among the best bad guys of all time from the “Die Hard” series of movies to Harry Potter’s Professor Snape), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, author Harper Lee and former First Lady, Nancy Reagan.  2016 seemed not to be shaping up very well.

Markets were down 11% 2 by February 11th, 2016.  Oil traded under $30 per barrel and the world economy seemed perched on a precipice.  The lion roared in and scared away all the lambs.  (We could say the bear growled in but, technically, in Market-speak, the indexes need to be down over 20% for the decline to be called a true bear.  That and, around here, we don’t want to invoke old Ursus unless we have to.)  

After the sun came out and Markets began to reverse course, the loss of those who contributed to our society’s enrichment continued.  Patty Duke and Debbie Reynolds.  Prince and Merle Haggard.  Gene Wilder who kept his illness a secret from the world because he never wanted to mar a child’s memory of him with a picture of anything other than happiness.  Fidel Castro and Eli Wiesel.  Carrie Fisher.  Arnold Palmer.  

All of this caused us to really think hard about the good things that happened in 2016.  As it happens, the Markets and the economy are among the brightest spots.  From the lows of February 11th through the last trading day of the year on December 30th 3 the Market returned 22.4%.  That qualifies as a verifiable bull!  Not many, if any, of the experts were predicting that kind of an outcome but the Markets 4 hit a record high, wages rose and unemployment was at the lowest levels seen in 9 years5.  

It can’t always be all about markets and the economy, so what else happened in 2016 that we can point to as a positive?  Well, astronomers discovered evidence of a 9th planet.  World hunger was at its lowest levels in 25 years and the Giant Panda was officially removed from the Endangered Species list6.  

The roller coaster ride of 2016 is another reminder of why we stay invested, why we allocate assets across different types of investments and why we utilize the thinking of different experts.  The Market is a great purveyor of surprise and this year only cements the need to stay focused on the positive.  One never knows when the bull will buck his head up!  


Commentary written by Alisa Chatham Sakowitz, Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation, offer, or recommendation to purchase or sell a security. S&P 500 Index is a market index which focuses on large-cap segments of the U.S. equities market.  Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. 2017-34472 Exp 1/18

  1.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-set-for-triple-digit-drop-as-oil-breaks-under-30-2016-01-15
  2. http://us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500  (supplemented with First Data information)
  3. As measured by the S&P 500 Index
  4. As measured by the S&P 500 Index
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/12/21/16-good-news-stories-of-2016/?utm_term=.102d779a0b84
  6. https://qz.com/865623/99-good-things-that-happened-in-2016-from-ebola-leaving-west-africa-to-saving-the-mantees/

Game, Set, Match... Double Match!!

By Nicky Park with Jamie Worrall

It seems like everyone I know right now is talking about or thinking about buying a home! Apparently the market is “hot”, whatever that means. Recently I got a chance to sit down with Matthew Cole who is a branch manager at Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Company and came out with an actual viable game plan thanks to a 1% down conventional loan product called the Double Match Grant Program.

First, here’s a little more about Matthew:

His favorite part of the job is helping people who thought they could not buy a home. (Well, that’s me!) As Matt called us “buyers who have a tough time saving money”. I appreciate the empathy, because in addition to the crazy rents in midtown and my school loan payments and of course LIFE, I can’t put away as much as I’d like to.

How can a branch manager in finance be so sympathetic? He’s been there. Matt and his wife Fallyn have four children, (one a newborn!) two dogs and a cat. He’s a master at striking a balance between investing in the future (whether that be saving for an additional college fund or saving for a big professional expense at the office) and living in the moment. “We do a lot of things as a family,” Matt says, and he truly believes that an active life does not have to be incompatible with one’s financial goals and homeownership.

Here’s where the Conventional Double Match Mortgage comes in. If you qualify you can get a conventional home loan and only have to put 1% down. The remainder of the 3% down payment will come in the form of a grant that doesn’t need to be repaid to anyone ever! Depending on the location of the home being purchased there may not even be any income limits as to who can qualify for the program. I’m a first time home buyer but second and third-time home-buyers are welcome to this party as well!

Yes, there are other programs that might be a better fit for others with a large savings account, but I am not one who has 20% of the purchase price just tucked away. If you don’t want to be “house poor” let Guaranteed Rate help you “keep money in your pocket” as Matt puts it.

Matt has been doing the mortgage (and family) gig for fifteen years now, and sees patterns and shifts in the market that I have just begun to take interest in, so I appreciate his experience. From what I hear, Sacramento has some seriously low inventory, and interest rates that might go up as the market changes under a new administration. All in all, Matthew Cole knows his stuff, and he is here to help!

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal

By Corey Rodda 

    The trendy neighborhood of Oak Park has eye candy for anyone to behold — antique mansions, line houses and knotted sycamore trees make up North Oak Park where Old Soul Co., Naked Coffee, Oak Park Brewery, the Oakland grown La Venadita Taqueria and the Brickhouse Art Gallery have started to attract hipsters and investors. Further south, Central and South Oak Park offer a neighborhood oasis where the stars shine bright at night and palm trees climb to soaring heights.  

Valentine's Day cards lovingly made by Wellspring guests are on sale at the McGeorge School of Law. Proceeds go to Wellspring's Art of Being program which offers art therapy, crafts, sewing classes and a weekly make-it and take-it craft club to every woman in the Sacramento community free of charge.

Valentine's Day cards lovingly made by Wellspring guests are on sale at the McGeorge School of Law. Proceeds go to Wellspring's Art of Being program which offers art therapy, crafts, sewing classes and a weekly make-it and take-it craft club to every woman in the Sacramento community free of charge.

    But, beneath all the glitz and glamour of Oak Park is an urban community in transition and Wellspring Women’s Center, tucked away behind the Broadway Triangle in an antique pink-painted firehouse, has seen it all. A black panther shoot-out once occurred at the old Firehouse which is now known to long time Oak Park residents as a community gathering spot that has offered women and children a haven from the auspices of poverty since 1987.  

Fresh cut flowers donated by Relles Florist adorn every breakfast table at Wellspring Women's Center. They are part of Wellspring's mission to serve it's guests in an atmosphere of "hospitality, dignity and love."

Fresh cut flowers donated by Relles Florist adorn every breakfast table at Wellspring Women's Center. They are part of Wellspring's mission to serve it's guests in an atmosphere of "hospitality, dignity and love."

    Each weekday morning, Wellspring serves a nutritious breakfast to about 200 women and children in an atmosphere of hospitality, dignity and love.  As well, the Center offers social work services, art therapy, sewing classes, chiropractic services and dispenses diapers, sanitary pads and hygiene products. 

    Wellspring was founded nearly thirty years ago by Sister Catherine Connell and Sister Claire Graham who set out to create a breakfast spot that was clean, bright and beautiful where women could come to value themselves through the experience of being valued by others.

    In the Center’s salad days, Sister Claire and Sister Catherine would clean guests homes after they closed Wellspring for the day. While on their house visits, they took stock of what the guests needed and started to offer them diapers, sanitary pads, hygiene products and greeting cards.

    Reliant solely on private funding, the Center requests no qualifying information from its guests before they can access its services. Over the past thirty years, Wellspring has evolved to serve it’s guests’ needs.

      Fresh cut flowers and tablecloths adorn every table and the center’s walls pop with art and photographs. An old fire pole near the center’s kitchen has been transformed into a sculpture crafted out of pastel flower coffee filters. 

The center occupied other storefronts before moving to its current location and has operated out of this historic firehouse in North Oak Park since the mid-90s.  A black panther shoot out once occurred from the Firehouse's hose tower. 

The center occupied other storefronts before moving to its current location and has operated out of this historic firehouse in North Oak Park since the mid-90s.  A black panther shoot out once occurred from the Firehouse's hose tower. 

    Wellspring serves as a social gathering spot — a place where isolated seniors, women with mental illness, mothers and grandmothers can listen to each others stories and be a part of each others lives.  Seasonal celebrations supply guests with fond memories to earmark the passage of time. And birthday gifts and bassinets given to new mothers reveal to guests that they are loved and honored. In the children’s corner where supervised playtime is offered during breakfast hours, children are exposed to guests and volunteers who shower them in compassion even if their home-life is fraught with dysfunction. 

    The breakfast spot is a beacon of radical acceptance — no guests are ever banned from Wellspring and for some women, Wellspring is their only access point for food and shelter.  Wellspring embraces those who are most marginalized and creates an environment where everyone no matter race, creed, class or background is blanketed in compassion, support and love. Wellspring is a model of community revitalization and proof that we heal together. Perhaps the Center’s most profound impact is giving its guests reason to wake up in the morning. 

Wellspring, currently dressed up for Valentine's Day, is decorated for every holiday and provides its guests with celebrations to look forward to each season.

Wellspring, currently dressed up for Valentine's Day, is decorated for every holiday and provides its guests with celebrations to look forward to each season.

        To learn more about Wellspring please visit the Center’s website and read Tales from the Heart of Wellspring: Stories Collected and Shared at Wellspring

~Corey Rodda is a marketing consultant who is passionate about social justice. She happily resides in Oak Park, Sacramento.

Hello 95819 Friends!

Hello 95819 Friends!

Here's a look at 2016 in 95819!

--By Michael Glascock

This graph clearly illustrates with oh-so-vibrant colors a truly far from vibrant market for buyers. Though active listings have increased in the last 30 days, the desire and demand to live in 95819 outweighs the opportunity.

Graph #2 offers a grand perspective on price per square foot. This only goes to show what happens when inventory dwindles...

This glacial perspective shows truly how much of a seller's market it is in 95819!!! Six months of inventory is considered an even market... and here we are looking at just over two-thirds of a month! If you are living in the 95819... things are more than fine.

***Should you have any further questions or desire any more colorful and informative charts and graphs, feel free to contact me at any time. I'm never to busy for your referrals!***
Onward & Upward,
Michael

A Look at '16 in the 95818

A Look at '16 in the 95818

Hello to our dear friends, clients, livers and lovers of all that is 95818! Here is a year of data for your perusing pleasure. Should you have any questions regarding these graphs, or any other market inquiries please don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we are here for!

This first graph clearly shows that there's not much out there for buyers to choose from. It's an extremely light inventory!

Graph 2 only further supports the case of heavy rains and light listings!

Graph 3 shows if you list it... it won't last!!! Only going to show...

THIS IS THE TIME! BE A PART OF IT!

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