Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • illuminating the unseen faces & unheard voices of Oakland:

    I grew up in - It’s, like, near Fruitvale. In between Fruitvale and Trestle Glen, but I felt like all of Oakland was really, like, my home growing up. My family’s been here for - I’m fourth generation, so there was always sort of a, like, ownership of the entire city that - You know my dad would, like, take me over to East Oakland, Dimond area, and show me where he grew up and, like, the house that he lived in when he was little, and yeah. So I felt like the whole city was kind of mine.

    I guess I just felt like I identified a lot with Oakland as a part of who I was. Like, my family was not really very good at kind of recording history as far as, like, ancestry, like where we came from, you know, in whatever other countries. So it was sort of all I was ever told was, like, Oakland is where you’re from. So, yeah. I felt like that was, like, really a part of my heritage, I guess.

    When I was about twelve, my dad moved us out to Vegas, and I think that was sort of when I really first noticed, like, how much Oakland was in my heart. ‘Cause I, like - It was the lack of what I saw here, like, the culture and the kind of diversity and people questioning things, that all of a sudden that was removed from my life and then I realized how important that was to me.

    I don’t know. When I was a teenager, I went to a lot of, like, punk shows and could, like - It was pretty easy to find these, like, warehouse spaces that were obviously pretty illegal that I think maybe it’s harder to find things like that in other places. And I felt like there were a lot of options as far as, like, subcultures to kind of identify with, growing up here.

    What are you passionate about?

    Right now, at this very exact moment, I’m really passionate about moss and getting colors from plants. I’ve been playing a lot with natural dyes lately, and I’m really excited about that and using, like, the wild parts of Oakland. There’s an area right around the corner from my house that’s, like, the places where the freeway - Like, the legs of the freeway I guess, go, and there’s, like, a fenced off area where it’s just, like, totally wild. And I never really, like thought about it before, but I’ve been, like, looking for plants to dye with.

    I guess it’s sort of like an extreme exploration into DIY. Like, I wanted to - I’ve been - I started kind of with weaving, and I was, like, working with fabric and making my own clothes and I wanted to kind of have complete control over everything that I was using and know exactly how it came to be. So I started weaving my own fabric and, like, using plants to dye with that just seemed like the natural progression.

    I, like - I left home pretty young, so that was - I was pretty proud of that. I guess that was definitely me sort of taking the reigns on my own life. I started working at a telemarketing office. I was, like, fifteen, and I got an apartment in East Oakland from people who didn’t really seem like they minded much about laws. So... (laughs) And I graduated high school while I was doing that, so I’m definitely still proud of that. (laughs)

    I was a caretaker for a woman who - She was kind of like a mentor to me. I was in - She was a teacher of mine, and I, like, felt really - I don’t know. I just felt like I had more to learn from her. She got sick with ALS and she had to stop teaching. And I just really looked up to her, so I became her caretaker. Um... And that was really difficult. I mean it was really amazing taking care of her and I really, like, grew a lot during that time. But then I got into school in New York while she was still alive and she was like, you know, ‘Go, you have to take the opportunity. Like, you can’t stay here.’ So - And she died while I was in New York. So that was really hard. Being, like, really far away from her.

    I don’t know if I could put it into words, the best part of taking care of Carla. I don’t know. I guess seeing her maintain her humor. She was, like, really funny and really just outgoing, and she, like, insisted on laughing about it no matter how, like - You know, her body just stopped working. ALS is Lou Gehrigs disease. Like, your muscles just deteriorate, basically. So she was a singer and she couldn’t sing any more and then she couldn’t feed herself and she couldn’t walk. And just - You know, as these things kept happening to her that were, you know, obviously really difficult for anyone to deal with she just kept her sense of humor and she was always just making really inappropriate jokes about the whole situation. And it made it, like, just - I think it made it better for her, it made it better for her son, it made it better for everyone to just be able to kind of laugh at, like, the most awful thing that could happen to a person.

    I went to Parson’s for Fashion Design. I mean I’ve always, like, been interested in clothes and the way people style themselves and, you know, sewed my own - I guess it started when I was, you know, a teenage punk sewing my own patches and sewing in my pants. I just really loved it. It was really satisfying for me, working with fabric.

    Right now I’m hoping to make this, like, lace-moss fort-shelter. So, I’m really interested in making environments. I’m still interested in making clothes, but I sort of want to make an environment for the clothes. It’s going to be like a shelter. I don’t know what it’s going to be like yet. I just got the moss today, so we’ll see how it goes. I don’t know if moss will even grow on lace. I think that, like, lace is kind of like bricks or cement, like, it’s sort of porous. I don’t know - cotton? Will moss grow on cotton? I don’t know. We’ll find out. I’ll let you know. (laughs)

    For more from Projet En Vue, visit us at

    For more information about Projet En Vue, watch the video on our Kickstarter
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.