Alma Blackwell’s love and dedication to equity for Oaklanders shines like a true Social Justice Warrior. So much so, that this year we made a new category for our Townie Awards – Social Justice Warrior – to recognize her years of movement work and leadership for housing justice.
An Oakland native, Alma has fought for housing rights for over a decade. With gentrification pushing out Oakland’s native Black and low-income populations, she began standing up to displacement and unfair treatment of tenants as a member of Causa Justa :: Just Cause in 2008. Standing with other residents, they pushed back on a plan for the privatization of public housing here in Oakland. Alma continued as a volunteer with Causa Justa::Just Cause throughout the years, becoming a staff member in 2011 and the Housing Rights Organizer in July 2013. Alma also co-anchors the Homes For All campaign, helping to build a renter nation to win affordable, dignified, and permanent homes for all people. She believes in Homes for ALL and that Housing IS a Human Right. A fierce organizer, she advocates fearlessly for the rights of tenants, teaches them to use their own voices, and builds up the leadership of Causa Justa::Just Cause’s member base.
Alma’s passion for social justice shines through her tireless work to change the conditions of her community and broader society. Whether mobilizing Oakland residents, inspiring folks at a rally, or supporting Causa Justa::Just Cause members to grow their leadership, she’s a champion for our folks and our movement.
Corporate developers are trying to push our communities out of Oakland, but we are rooted here, and we know how to organize. Alma had the support from Causa Justa::Just Cause and the personal courage to stay in Oakland and fight for the rest of us. And for this, we honor her.
Alma reminds us that heroes aren’t born – our own organizing as regular people can make us into the heroes we need, and make us realize the heroic work many of us are already doing to sustain our communities. It hurts to lose our beloved basketball team, but we know that with dedication and passion, anyone among us has the potential to help our communities rise.