Return to Headlines

Building Community by Serving those in Need

Building Community by Serving those in Need

 

Raquel Jimenez Raquel Jimenez, OUSD’s Family and Community Engagement Coordinator and a former OUSD graduate of Fremont High, was recognized in April by the Oakland City Council for her leadership and service in support of those who need help in our community.

 

Raquel was chosen as part of a group of Oakland citizens honored by the City Council for their community service in the legacy and spirit of Cesar Chavez.

 

“This family and youth engagement work is about building relationships, connecting people back to each other, cultivating and growing those relationships one student, one parent, one teacher, one community member at a time,” Raquel said. “In this way, we stay connected and grounded in our own power and determination to improve the quality of life and education for our children.”

 

Chavez was known as someone who “employed nonviolent means to bring attention to the plight of farm workers, and as a labor leader, led marches, called for boycotts and went on several hunger strikes and brought national awareness to the dangers of pesticides to workers' health,” according to the city resolution.

 

Today, Chavez’s legacy “lives on through the leadership and activism of Oakland residents” in areas such as Service to Others; Sacrifice, A Preference to Help the Most Needy … Acceptance of all People, Respect for Life, Celebrating Community, Knowledge and Innovation,” the resolution states.

 

For Raquel, her family’s passion for community started in 1952, when her grandparents settled in Oakland to work in the canneries and booming construction industries. Raquel is a second-generation Chicana, from Mexican immigrant grandparents, and the first in my family to go to college.

 

She has 20 years experience with community organizing, youth and family engagement experience in Oakland, with the Xicana Moratorium Coalition, MEChA, Youth Together, and Oakland Unified School District.  I am a graduate of the Oakland public schools and graduated from Fremont High School in 1992, where I was also an active student leader on my campus and at All City Council.

 

Raquel Jimenez In the early 1990s, Raquel was a lead organizer in getting Black Studies and Raza Studies at Castlemont and served as the student-teacher of Raza Studies at Castlemont for three years, before initiating the Youth Together program at Castlemont, building the first One Land One People/Healthy Start collaborative, and organizing to get the Student Unity Center on campus and convert the empty building next door into multi-service community youth center (now known as Youth Uprising).

 

“I have a deep passionate commitment to achieving unity, social justice, and self-determination for all communities,” Raquel said. “My goal is to advance racial justice in education by advancing student, parent, and community voice and power both inside and outside of the institution. My work is grounded in my own learning and healing to become a better parent and teacher in service of my community.”

 

Raquel graduated from UC Berkeley in Chicano Studies in 1997, and completed graduate work at UCLA in 2002, receiving a Master of Arts in Education, with a specialization in Race and Ethnic Studies in Education.