Category: Uncategorized

Felton Spotlight: Atiim Boykin, Lead Therapist Back on Track and Transitions SF

22May

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I have decided to share another aspect of myself, one that is very closely aligned with my values, and character as a man. I was highlighted in my agency’s (Felton Institute) newsletter this month, after being interviewed by Janice Edwards of Bay Area Vista (http://www.bayareavista.com/). I am honored. 
She wrote:

 

atiim_chenzira-_dsc6311Atiim is focused, dedicated and passionate about helping those in the Back on Track and Transitions San Francisco programs stay on the pathway to a life of success, even when it is sometimes a rocky road. A Bay Area native of African-American and Filipino descent, Atiim earned his master’s degree at the University of San Francisco, and he brought his impressive arsenal of talents to Felton institute in 2012.

The Back on Track Program (BOT) was created by Kamala Harris during her tenure as District Attorney of San Francisco. It is a prosecutor-led re-entry model focused on preventing recidivism among non-violent first time offenders. The program requires a minimum 12 month commitment that provides therapy, educational, career, parenting, health and community goal training with each participant creating a personal responsibility plan with their case-managers and a (POC) plan of care with their Felton therapist to help achieve his or her goals.

This collaborative venture of the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, Goodwill and Felton means that successful graduates of the year long program will not go to prison or jail nor be placed on probation or parole, and that their cases will be dismissed. The participants pay restitution to society by completing 220 hours of community service with agencies like Glide Memorial Church and other non-profits in and around San Francisco and Alameda Counties.

Atiim has a warm yet firm demeanor; he listens and speaks with a discerning and compassionate spirit. When someone is referred to the Back on Track program, there is a six week suitability period; Boykin’s skills play a key role in assessing appropriate candidates.

“I support a clientele of individuals who are conditioned by community violence, aka trauma, grief, and loss. These individuals are primarily people of color from low-income and high-crime neighborhoods, as they unfortunately go hand and hand. For most of my clients, Felton is their first contact with a mental health clinician.

So, we are charged with the responsibility of gathering important bio-psycho-social information from a clientele whose level of trust for ‘outsiders’ is very minimal. This is because of distrust for authority figures, due to a history of real and perceived personal and community injustice.”

Atiim’s work in the BOT program of Restorative Justice is in alignment with his personal mission to improve every aspect of the world he touches.

“The grace of the BOT program builds a bit of trust with a community that needs to feel included, respected, and human in the eyes of their government, both local and national. BOT is a healing agent, and I am glad to be a member of the Back On Track team.”

As full as his plate is with his responsibilities as Lead Therapist for Back on Track and Transitions SF programs, Atiim also leads a band (FatheR BrotheR Sun), and has also established a loyal following as a recording artist. To learn more about the personal side of this multi-talented, multi-faceted member of the Felton family, visit  www.atiimchenzira.com.

Written by Janice Edwards, 5/2015

 

To learn more about the Felton Institute, visit: www.Felton.org
More about Back On Track from Kamala Harris:
1. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-oew-harris26-2009jun26-story.html
2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kamala-d-harris/finding-the-path-back-on_b_350679.html

ODB & ATW – May 9th Show!

4May

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Here we go again, folks! Oakland Drops Beats: Music Crawl is happening this Saturday!

May 9th, 2015 @ The Spice Monkey 

The Spice Monkey is located at 1628 Webster, corner of 17th St at the border of Oakland’s Uptown and Downtown districts in an architecturally delightful former 1930’s art deco tile showroom.

CLICK THIS G-MAPS LINK

Oakland Drops Beats & A Thousand WordZ Present:

atiimposter(NEPAL) (2)

Doors @ 6pm: 

Suggested Donation of $10

Sliding scale (no one turned away).

Art Exhibit

by Project Elefont Artist, Lorenzo Vasquez

Music Line-up: 

  • 6:00p – 7:30p          DJ Hotwire
  • 7:30p – 8:00p          Blackulah (Spoken Word)
  • 8:00p – 8:30p          Soul from the O (Hip Hop)
  • 9:00p – 10:00p        Ali Hammad & FatheR BrotheR Sun (Soul, R&B, Hip Hop, Live Band)
  • 10pm – 11pm          DJ Hotwire

For More Information: 

AThousandWordZ.net

OaklandDropsBeats.com

Jack Eastgate = Artist & Designer

3May

POSTED BY

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I met Jack Eastgate 5 years ago while booking artists and musicians for a Haiti relief show I organized in West Oakland at the Oakland Noodle Factory in 2010.

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A good friend and colleague Amber McZeal reached out to me and asked if I needed any more artists, explaining that her friend Jack wished to be included in the show. Well, I didn’t really need anymore artists, because between both Project Elefont & Local 365, two Bay Area Artist Collectives, there were already well over 30 artists filling two levels of wall space. Also, I had recruited a few photographers and artists on my own, so I didn’t know how I could fit one more into the gig. Unless…  I decided I could use a live artist to top things off and entertain guests above the second story where the bands would play. So, I asked Amber, “Does he do live artwork?”. She promised to find out, and have Jack give me a call. And so, Jack called me the following day explaining that he had done live artwork before and that he would show up with a large canvas and paint in the space I designated for him, above the live performance space on the second floor.

31837_279293539949_4129904_nWe were set! However, I didn’t know until a few years later that Jack had never done live artwork and that he was doing it for the first time!

 

Jack, nonetheless, took a chance and made a leap into being the center of attention for the entire evening, as people were in awe of his work.

(below is a photo of Jack’s finished work on 2/27/10)

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Since 2010, Jack has continued to support my projects with his artistic consultation and design. He’s been instrumental in my branding for my 2014 album release, Aspectz Of Me (http://R3NP.bancamp.com), and with my newest band project FatheR BrotheR Sun‘s branding and logo design for our web-presence and promotions. Besides supporting my organization A Thousand WordZ, he’s been my ‘go to’ art designer for all of my marketing collateral needs.

Check out his portfolio, and newest website, which features some of the work he’s recently done for me:

http://www.jackeastgate.com/atiim

It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Jack. Since his marriage to the beautiful and equally talented Alise Rand Eastgate, the two have teamed up to both own and opperate EastRand Studios (http://EastRandStudios.com). Since our first meeting, I’ve purchased at least two of Jack’s original pieces, which I proudly hang in my office and in my home. I am consistently seeking ways to involve EastRand Studios in supporting my creative endeavors, besides stopping by to have Kava and an old fashioned home cooked meal (vegan island style) from time to time.

(The above photo of Jack painting is from the A Thousand WordZ May 1st, 2010 benefit for China, compliments of Ploom)

Here are a couple of links to the bios for Jack:

1. (2010 ATW): http://interviewz.blogspot.com/2010/02/artist-bio-jack-eastgate.html

2. (2014 ATW): http://interviewz.blogspot.com/2014/03/oakland-drops-beats-jack-alise-eastgate.html 

Oakland Local – March 2015

30Mar

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Oakland Local – March 2015

Oakland is… Diverse; Creative; Starving; Exploding; Curious; Amazing; Scary; Serene; Neo-Local; Roots; Culture; Life-Style; Trend-Setting; Southern; Eastern; Northern; West-Coast; Vibrant; Old-School; Chocolate City; Hipster; Political; Occupy; Arts; Poor; Rich; Needy; Full; and…ME.” ~Atiim Chenzira

Hi, folks!

I have been featured on the front page of Oakland Local this past week: http://oaklandlocal.com/2015/03/the-oakland-neighborhood-project-5/

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Photo journalist, Steve Texeira, has taken on the project of documenting 146 districts in Oakland, California. And, after reading his story in the local news paper some months ago, I reached out to him! I was utterly amazed with his work, and wanted, as a native Oaktowner, to be included in the history of my town through his Oakland Neighborhood Project (Link). Over the years, I have met many people from around the world in Oakland, and in surrounding Bay Area cities, and they have mostly been surprised to have met a true native… This would of course mean they need a tour guide of the real ‘Town’, as they have not been dipped in the local environment properly. However, as I look around now, all parts of Oakland are being filled with fleeing San Franciscans, Mid-Westerners, East Coasters, and Southern migrants all searching for the next ‘Brooklyn’ or affordable housing, and/or the First Friday explosion has drawn them closer like the Toucan Sam’s Froot Loops. Oakland gives artists and musicians some promise of exposure… AND every Oaklander has an origin story.

My Mother’s people settled in Oakland from Queens, New York via the Philippines & Philadelphia, and my Father’s people settled in Oakland from Dallas, Texas & Lake Charles, Louisiana, and this is only one generation of my family line. I remember reading in the Oakland Tribune, about 16 years ago, that Oakland was rated the most diverse city in the world, as there were over 100+ languages and cultures here then. I wonder if she is becoming more diverse, or less due to this new boom of population and curiosity. Nevertheless, she moves forward with or with out me, and the others, as change is the only constant.

In my limited perspective, Oakland has been and is ‘being’ injected with a renaissance that is slowly but surely leaving natives unable to move for fear of losing their homes, or, fleeing further away, whether back to their family origins in other states, or out-skirt cities, where living is affordable, and sustainable. You see, my reasons for contacting Mr. Texeira were solely my own, as I wanted to be documented as a part of Oakland history, as I am, have been, and will continue to be for some time. His photo journalism and art is showing the many districts of this diverse and ever-changing city of mine, and I wanted to be a scribble in his journal of who Oakland is. It seems Oakland changes every 5-10 years, and Steve is capturing slices of Oakland’s Past, Present, and Future.

The art scene here is bursting at the seams, and in five to ten years, I predict Oakland will likely be unable to support its’ artists, as San Francisco has recently shown very clearly with the booming Tech-Start-Up culture. Music venues have been shutting down left and right, in favor or condos to house the influx of people. But what about the music? What about the artists? What about the artistic class in general? Well, I know quite a few of them that have recently moved to Oakland… Rent here has gone up 35% from 2010 – 2012 and 12.1% from January 2014 to January 2015 due to the demand for its supply of housing, AND house prices up 76% since 2010. It’s crazy how anyone can live here, especially artists or musicians who traditionally put more into their arts than they ever receive back in return; I know I do. It has been quite a blessing to live in the same place for 11 years now, and my rent is truly a blessing. It is what has allowed me stability in many areas of my life.

Rent, on average, is $1,500 for a one bedroom in Oakland, and $3,400 in San Francisco. So, with limited affordable housing, the number of places to play or display their work, it doesn’t make sense how arts are surviving at all here. On the other hand, the art scene in Oakland’s spark of genius with the explosion of it’s Art Murmur, better known as First Fridays, has inspired the Nation with Coolness and has given artists, musicians, and small business owners an opportunity to be seen, heard, and to make some money. So, it appears that people are migrating to San Francisco and Oakland for many reasons; the hipsters and techies, the artists and musicians, etc., etc.. We all love how ‘cool’ these cities have been and are becoming, but the cool can’t afford to stay for just one Friday a month, and when the smoke clears I wonder what story Oakland will tell then.

I share an Oakland history with many family and friends, and they have all either migrated here one to three generations ago, were born here and still live here, have died here, moved away from here, or have recently moved into my town, ‘The Town’. I grew up in East Oakland in the Allendale District, as my mother’s family owned a four unit apartment complex; where my family lived until 1989. All of her siblings had children, and every weekend there were flocks of my cousins and neighborhood kids in the streets playing jump rope, riding bikes, skateboards, playing football or baseball in the streets, or heading to the local recreation center to the play ground or swimming pool, etc.. I had Black friends, Korean friends, Samoan friends, White friends, Latino friends from various countries, and a pre-milk carton world to explore as a child. Fear of exploring Oakland as a child did not consciously exist for parents or kids. My world-view was consequently shaped by my Oakland experiences as a child and teen.

Diversity is nothing new to me. Every district in Oakland has its own mix of culture and class and history. In 1989 my father moved our family to Berkeley, CA. so that we could attend Berkeley High School, his alma mater. Again, into diversity we went. Berkeley High School was THE ONLY public high school in Berkeley, and it had kids from all of the neighboring cities filling its halls, and kids from rich families and poor who lived in the flat lands of Berkeley, and the hills. It also functioned like a miniature college campus, as students had to choose their own classes through various departments, as it had one of the only African American studies departments & Asian American studies departments in the nation. Navigating BHS prepared me for life after high school in so many ways.

Three college degrees later, and after moving around California; Southern, Central, and Northern, I have re-settled in the Golden Gate District, where I have a live-work studio. (From) Here I work on music with my band FatheR BrotheR Sun (http://FatheRBrotheRSun.com), paint, organize mixed media events, work as a lighting and sound contractor, and make a daily commute to San Francisco to work as a Marriage and Family Therapist with Felton Institute (aka Family Service Agency of San Francisco) as a Lead Therapist for the Back On Track program. So diversity has also made its way into my interests, skill sets, and actions. In the community I live, I have taught kids in both Oakland and Emeryville, and performed therapy with kids from Kindergarten to 12th Grade the Emeryville Unified School District. (Side-Note) Emeryville and the Golden Gate District of Oakland share a jigsaw of a border, and are so intertwined and related that I rarely say I live in Oakland, as the EPD (Emeryville Police Department) show up right away when needed, but OPD (Oakland Police Deparment) is stretched and largely unavailable unless it is a crisis! Speaking of Police, I have both respect for, and traumatic experience with OPD, so I won’t begin a conversation about OPD that I can’t possibly finish in a paragraph or two, so, let’s just say, as a native, I know Oakland intimately.

What I do as an adult professional was surely shaped by my experiences in Oakland, and the Bay Area at large. Huge questions were posed as the diversity of class in Oakland seamed more like segregation than coincidence, and a matter of privilege than chance or choice. I received a bachelors of arts in both Pan African Studies and Sociology, and a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, because of my curiosity with the disparity between classes, ‘race’, and income, and their correlations. You see, there is more to an environment and an individual than their current state. There is a history that precedes any assumption of what exists, and history is the key to unlocking any systemic analysis, prognosis, or helpful interventions that may follow. In short, I have found that all that I contribute to my world helps me, and support others in some minor or major way, which is well worth it to me. There is a quote by Virginia Gildersleeve that I love to use in one of my email signatures, which goes, “The ability to think straight, some knowledge of the past, some vision of the future, some skill to do useful service, some urge to fit that service into the well-being of the community – these are the most vital things education must try to produce.” And so it is.

As a Black Adult Professional Man, and an empathetic, concerned, and engaged human being, I am doing what I can to change my World, my USA, my California, my Bay Area, and my Oakland. By sharing my talents and skills, my true self, I can speak up for, affect, and plant seeds of change every day. And, so long as I can breath, I will honor the rich history of Oakland. She has a world wide reputation and history for vocalizing the need for justice and equality, one that inspired free lunches for children in public schools; sought fair treatment of city citizens by Police (which we sadly still fight for today) and local government; inspired a generation of Black parents to give their children names like Ayana, Kahlil, Shani, Kali, Salim, and Atiim; has produced numerous famous and non-famous artists and musicians, intellects and scholars, etc., and is now calling artists to occupy and breath new life into her streets. I just hope that our city officials see the need to protect the artistic class and to preserve the Soul of Oakland in doing so. Oakland is home, and will always be home to me, no matter where I decide to live in the potential future.

Read more about Steve Texeira:  http://oaklandlocal.com/author/stephentexeira/

Stephen Texeira’s Website: http://www.texeiraphoto.com/

Stephen Texiera’s Oakland Neighborhood Project: http://www.oaklandphoto.org/neighborhoods/

Check out the previous post about Steve’s project:

1. http://atiimchenzira.com/oakland-neighborhood-project/

2. http://atiimchenzira.com/photography-light-writing-a-photodocumentary-of-oakland-by-stephen-texeira/

Cheers!

Stephen Texeira ONP Atiim

(Photos by Stephen Texeira, 2014)

The Mayhem Festival Winners are announced!

20Oct

POSTED BY

Winners!

Well folks, the winners have been announced, and there is a great number of great musicians and song writers in this Bay Area. Congratulations to all of the winners! Time to get back to the making of more great tunes, and we’ll see how next year pans out. Thank you very much for your support, and it was an honor to participate in the Mayhem Festival competition! Thank you.

Sincerely,
Atiim Chenzira

Nominee for Best Song by Oakland Solo Artist, Mayhem 2014

17Oct

POSTED BY

Mayhem 2014

 

“Miss Fire” was nominated and selected as one of 21 finalists in the category “Best Song by an Oakland Solo Artist.”

Winners will be announced on Monday October 20th, so stay tuned. 

 

To take a listen to the 21 Oakland Solo Artists who were nominated for this category, please visit the link below:

http://www.oaklandmayhem.com/2014bandfinalists/

 

Miss Fire:  

 

6/22/2014 Release Date for Aspectz Of Me

19Jun

POSTED BY

The Release of Aspectz Of Me is here:

Volume Atiim & Volume Bomani

6/22/2014

ORDER NOW! 

Link: 

http://r3np.bandcamp.com/

Aspectz Of Me:  6/22/14

Pre-order now!

 

Thank you!

Oakland Neighborhood Project

6Jun

POSTED BY

A Photo Project To Bring Out Oakland’s Voice

Steve Texeria is a photographer with Oakland roots, who has set off to bring a different kind of attention to Oakland, an attention only natives, and people who know her can. With his camera, he is inspired to share a thousand words with one image, and another.

I was one of his latest participants, and though I grew up in the Allendale district, in 1994 I moved away from the Bay Area for school, and for love, and Oakland has re-opened her arms to me after those two had ended. Since my return in 2003, the Golden Gate district has claimed me as her own. And, this is where Steve and I meet. I read and article in the SF Chronicle one Sunday morning, while having coffee, and decided to find him on Facebook. I wanted to be a part of his project, his documentation of my city, our city, and his vision, which I share; to give Oakland back her name, reputation, and smile.

It is all too often that I hear the negatives of what Oakland has to offer, even from those San Franciscans who have come to her because of cheaper housing, and access to more space, but she isn’t all bad. Nothing truly is all bad or good, but what is more commonly spoken of Oakland, or, at least, has lingered since the days of the War on Drugs, is what is remembered.

I, in no way, am saying that Oakland doesn’t have its horrors, traumas, blues, and unbelievable stories, she does, AND… And, Oakland has a great deal more too. Steve Texeria is on a journey to share the other side, the kindred heart of Oakland, not just to Oaklanders, but to the world. I am grateful to be a part of his journey.

Steve Texeria’s Oakland Neighborhood Project:

“The Oakland Neighborhood Project is designed to let the people in Oakland’s neighborhoods tell their stories in their own words. Over a period of 12-18 months, I will identify and photograph one person, family, or group in each of Oakland’s neighborhoods. Each photo session will take place in that person’s neighborhood and will feature that person or persons holding a sign with their message to the rest of the world written on it.”

_R7A3146<–Photo by Steve Texeira, 2014

Steve says, “I am actively recruiting for this project! So, if you are interested, if you want to represent your neighborhood, if you feel you have something to say that might improve people’s understanding of what and who Oakland truly is, let me know! But don’t wait, there are only so many neighborhoods to go around.”

For more information about Steve Texeria’s Oakland Neighborhood Project, go here:  http://onep.squarespace.com/

Finally Here!

5Jun

POSTED BY

 

Aspectz Of Me

Volume Atiim & Volume Bomani

Online Music Release TBA

 2 volumes of music
11 tracks each
v. Atiim
v. Bomani

2 volumes of music 11 tracks each v. Atiim v. Bomani

volumebomani4

Artwork & Design:

The Grammy Award Winning Company, EastRand Studios.

http://EastRandStudios.com

A Photo-documentary of Oakland, by Stephen Texeira

16May

POSTED BY

Hello, ladies and gentlemen.

I was chosen to participate in a photo-documentary of Oakland, by photographer, Stephen Texeira, who’s started a movement to document the REAL faces of Oakland. After reading an article this last Sunday (5/11/14), at my best friend’s house, while sipping coffee, she showed me an article from the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com; a publishing from Sunday April 27th, 2014. I was intrigued by the article, written by Chip Johnson, which stated,”Texeira wants to capture Oakland’s good side, but not like in one of his modeling shoots. – He’s not looking for the prettiest, most alluring face he can find. Instead, he wants to capture the essence of Oakland neighborhoods in faces that tell the story of a city with vast and diverse immigrant population; a long, proud history of African American residents; and a city of triumph and tragedy…” (http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Stephen-Texeira-gets-Oakland-picture-perfect-5393789.php)

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I thought to myself, “Well, I am from Oakland, and I care for the health of Oakland, and… I’m going to call him, and see if he is interested in interviewing me, an activist, organizer, entertainer, educator, and marriage and family therapist…” I thanked my best friend, found Stephen on Facebook, and emailed him my thoughts. Twenty minutes later, Stephen responded, and from there we set a date for a shoot. I am now one of the documented photo-stories of Oakland, and, because I now have lived and have worked in my studio in the Golden Gate District of Oakland for ten years, my story will too be told, as one of the “good” sides of Oakland’s history.

He isn’t done yet, as there are 150 different and unique neighborhoods in Oakland. I have also asked if I can help him find other stories to tell, as in, other individuals, families, and couples, and he agreed to utilize my support. His project is projected to take 12-18 months to complete, and after his story in the paper/website of SFGate.com, he is now becoming overwhelmed with responses.

He and I chit chatted about Oakland, took pictures, and shared our perspectives and history on and in Oakland, and I have to say, he is a very humble, intelligent, and personable gentleman. After reading many articles on Oakland, especially from the New York Times, about Oakland being the new Brooklyn, I think, instead of likening Oakland to other cities in preparation for more gentrification, or for trying to find ways to articulate what it actually is, Stephen is setting out on a journey that documents what Oakland was, is, and will be. One thing Stephen said, while we chatted, was, “Photography = Light Writing, so I am, essentially writing a story using light, about Oakland.”

Here is my Instagram photo of Chip Johnson & the San Francisco Chronicle’s April 27th, 2014 article: http://instagram.com/p/oCrKYAt8Ky/