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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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November 8, 2016 —California General Election

City of Oakland — ” Noni D. Session, Candidate for City Council, District 3

Photo of Noni D. Session

Noni D. Session

Assistant Librarian
10,108 votes (43.4%)
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  • FIGHT TO END THE HOUSING CRISIS - Implement Real Renter Protections - Permanently house our homeless - Create permanently affordable units - Increase access to home ownership
  • FOSTER PEACEFUL, EMPOWERED COMMUNITIES - Address the root causes of crime to decrease the need for policing - Revive partnership between City Hall & our youth service providers - Strengthen citizens’ police accountability measures
  • CREATE COMMUNITY-BASED SOLUTIONS - Build neighborhood assemblies - Schedule D3 community access hours - Create civic education initiatives to make City Hall accessible to all
Profession:Assistant Librarian
Assistant Librarian/Volunteer Coordinator, Contra Costa County Library (2014–current)
Commissioner, Oversight and Planning Committe, Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, City of Oakland — Appointed position (2016–current)
Organizing Founder/Treasurer, State of Black Oakland, A People's Assembly — Appointed position (2014–current)
Poll Inspector, Alameda County Registrar of Voters — Appointed position (2012–2012)
Instructor, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University (2008–2010)
Government & Inter-Agency Liaison/Researcher, United Nations Development Programme-Drylands Development Centre (2007–2008)
Environmental Education & Conservation Youth Crew Leader, Marin Conservation Corps (2007–2007)
Assembly Member, Graduate and Professional Student Association, Cornell University — Appointed position (2007–2007)
President, Anthropology Graduate Student Association, Cornell University Department of Anthropology — Elected position (2003–2004)
K-2nd Grade Special Education Classroom Teacher, West Contra Costa Unified School District (2000–2001)
Cornell University ABD, Cultural Anthropology-Humanitarianism, East Africa (2014)
Cornell University Masters of Arts, Cultural Anthropology- Non-Govenrmental Organizations, East Africa (2005)
San Francisco State University Bachelors of Art, Cultural Anthropology & African American Studies (2000)

Noni Session has a vision for District 3. This vision charts a path for the community that will keep historic families in their homes, insure "development without displacement", keep residents healthy and safe, and facilitate access to living wage jobs for Oaklanders. As a home-grown native, she understands the importance of not only protecting diverse communities, but also the environment and the city's rich culture. Noni will work to change the current political landscape for community benefit rather than the insatiable, big money interests that are currently controlling local government.  

Prior to her candidacy in the current election cycle Noni Session, spent the last decade fighting to improve the lives of people of color in the Bay Area. Her diligence in public service led to a strong track record as an educator and advocate. This long record of success and advocacy, along with her dedication to the community, has led to her to pursue a seat in city council where she will impart her more unified vision of Oakland that focuses on bold and creative steps necessary to save District 3 and maintain the vibrant culture.  

Session is an Oakland native maintaining deep roots in District 3, West Oakland, with a lineage spanning three generations. Session’s grandparents journeyed from Louisiana to the booming West Oakland, First Transcontinental Railroad terminus during the "Great Migration" in the 20th century.  During this time many African American families traveled westward to escape the racially oppressive conditions of Southern United States. Session's grandfather worked as a porter which was a highly sought after position by in Oakland due to reasonable pay and union support that was otherwise not available to African American workers. After living in the Cypress Village housing project, the Session family was able to purchase a home in the neighborhood which Session currently resides today.  Through the many incarnations of West Oakland, Session's family was able to maintain strong roots and pride in their home that was once considered the Harlem of the West.   

An ardent student, Session attended District 3 public schools, including McClymonds High School in West Oakland. Despite the fact that Session was a single mother at eighteen, she was able to propel herself forward with outstanding scholarship to attend San Francisco State University, where she graduated cum laude in Cultural Anthropology and African American Studies. Directly after concluding her studies at San Francisco State University, Session looked to further her commitment to service in the community specifically in the field of special education for the Title I elementary school, Harbor Way Academy in Richmond, California. At Harbor Way Academy, Session was personally affected by low-income students and families who were being siphoned through the school to prison pipeline. In her work as a teacher, Session was an advocate for students that were given little to no opportunity. Session created a possibility for these children to thrive as they transitioned from special education to mainstream education.  

Session's erudition led her further down an academic path to Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in 2001 to pursue her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology.  During this time Session and her young daughter relocated to Nairobi as a Fulbright-Hays Research Fellow. Session's dissertation research was in Bureaucratic Organizations & Humanitarianism which led her to work with the United Nations Development Programme as a government liason as well as with several locally run NGOs. Her work as an ethnographer created the possibility to question the conditions in which people of color existed both globally and back in her home of West Oakland.  

Continuing her work as an active member of the community in District 3, Session's utmost priority is to maintain a level of self-determination in communities that have been historically disenfranchised, displaced and underserved. As a Founding Organizer for State of Black Oakland (SOBO), Session currently serves as treasurer for the organization. Session has participated in other such groups by utilizing her skills as a Grant Writer and Co-organizer for Afrocentric Oakland, an organization that nurtures a sense of community and culture by supporting health and faith-based services in the African American community locally.   

From the District 3 City Council seat Noni D. Session will take Oakland in a new direction that will protect workers, families, and seniors that have been facing displacement due to the housing crisis in the Bay Area. As a native Oaklander, she understands the importance of preserving communities as well as protecting the environment in which these citizens reside. Session is a strong advocate for environmental justice in lowincome neighborhoods. Noni Session will change the political landscape of Oakland for hard working families rather than big money interests with transparency, unity, and equity.  

  • Green Party of Alameda County
  • SEIU Local 1021
  • East Bay Express
  • Eugene "Gus" Newport, Fmr Mayor of Berkeley
  • Nancy Nadel, fmr Oakland City Council Member, Dist. 3
  • Alameda Labor Council
  • Oakland Justice Coalition
  • NUHW National Union of Healthcare Workers
  • ACCE Action
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian
  • Oakland Post News Group
  • Oakland Rising Action
  • McClymonds Alumni Action Committee
  • John George Democratic Club
  • Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Candidate, Berkeley City Council, Dist. 2
  • Dan Siegel, Attorney at Law, Siegel & Yee
  • Adrionna Fike, Co-Owner, Mandela Foods Cooperative
  • Darice Jones, Exec. Director, Wardrobe for Opportunity
  • Debra Avery, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
  • Dr. Siri Brown, Dean of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Merritt College
  • Pamela Drake, Blogger, Drake talk
  • Carroll Fife, Oakland Alliance
1.
Major Issues

Describe three major issues facing District 3, and touch briefly on how you would try to deal with them

Answer from Noni D. Session:

End Oakland’s housing crisis ● Level the rental playing field through adjusting the current definition of “affordable” ● Staunch the outflow of Oakland residents through vigorous implementation and enforcement of real renter protections ● Prioritize models for funding that permanently re-house Oakland’s rising homeless population

Expand economic opportunity ● Fully Fund, re-open, and prioritize neighborhood employment centers ● Direct city and grant funds toward local projects and that create community-based economic development like worker-owned co-ops ● Support cooperative and local economics model ● Cultivate healthy sustainable jobs fund programs that make entry points to small business ownership simple

Foster Empowered communities ● Strengthen citizens’ police accountability measures ● Create policy to shift recruitment, training, and residency requirements for new officers toward a community policing model ● Ensure that afterschool and youth summer programs are fully-funded citywide 

2.
Life is Better

Describe three major ways in which life is better in your district than it was 4 years ago.

 

Answer from Noni D. Session:

I have been intensely involved in forms of social activism directed at creating and sustaining non-capital oriented communities in Oakland. For the last four years I have been a co –organizer with Cowrie Village. This organization hosts bartering events in order to create non cash skills and goods sharing networks among Black Oaklanders. I have also been a Co-organizer of Afrocentric Oakland. Each year we coordinate and host the Pan-African Family reunion: an all-day family and cultural event whose goal is to use public space to create and sustain social networks among African diasporic peoples living in Oakland and the greater Bay Area. For the last two years I have been a coorganizer with SOBO (State of Black Oakland) a united front coalition through which we are currently building a people’s platform to advance self-determination for African American people in Oakland. 

3.
Local Ballot Measures

Which of these local Oakland ballot measures do you think is the most critical one; why do you choose that one? 

a) Tax on distribution of sugar-sweetened beverages,

b) Just Cause Ordinance amendment,

c) infrastructure bond/affordable housing,

d) citizen police commission

 

Answer from Noni D. Session:

Citizen's Police Comission:

Like our community as a whole the nature of the citizen-police officer experience in Oakland diverges sharply. In more affluent and empowered of our citizens they can expect protection and as much responsiveness and current city capacity will allow. For the less empowered citizen relations with law enforcement are marked by fear, violation, uncertainty, and too often, personal peril. As we vigorously apply the upcoming citizen police board, I will also work to implement community policing models through such reforms as shifting recruitment models, education requirements, and residency incentives. Your police office should also be your neighbor. For me, restorative justice would also mean that the aforementioned changes were determined through a community based process. Through some of these changes on the model of policing intend to achieve a drastic reduction in police misconduct in oakland 

— October 11, 2016 Noni Session for City Council Committee

Noni Session's personal and professional trajectory, why she is running and her vision for participatory governance in Oakland and District 3

— October 11, 2016 Noni Session for City Council Campaign

Noni's vision for Community Policing involves human rights training, local recruitment, and incentivising living locally.

— November 1, 2016 Noni Session for City Council Campaign

District 3 deserves a representative who seeks out the input and needs of the constituency

— October 11, 2016 Interview conducted by, Zinnie

Noni's Personal History and Vision for Oakland

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