May 4 2016

What a great night for Oakland last night!

Not only did the Golden State Warriors pull out a hard fought win at the Oakland Coliseum. Across town, students, parents, pastors, nurses and doctors crowded into Oakland City Hall.

They were there to urge the City Council to place a health impact fee on soda corporations on the November ballot.

A man speaks about how type 2 diabetes has devastated many lives in the community.
A man speaks about how type 2 diabetes has devastated many lives in the community.

The dozens of people who testified all said the same thing: there is a diabetes state of emergency in our community. Half of Oakland residents are pre-diabetic or diabetic. The proceeds from this health impact fee, or soda tax, will fund much needed school and community programs to address the root causes of this horrible disease.

Oakland residents packed the house at the May 3rd City Council Meeting to decide if Oakland wants to put a soda tax on the ballot.
Oakland residents packed the house at the May 3rd City Council Meeting to decide if Oakland wants to put a soda health impact fee on the ballot.

Tragically, many speakers spoke of loved ones who had died from Type 2 Diabetes. Or had toes or part of their feet amputated. They talked about the shame they and their family members felt. And they said it is time to stand up to the beverage corporations—or Big Soda—that are targeting Black and Latino communities and saturating their community with advertising and unhealthy products.

The Council listened, and voted unanimously to put the soda tax on the November ballot. More details on the vote and the soda tax are here in a KQED story.

Congratulations Oakland! For standing up for the health of your children. I’ve included some of the most memorable comments from the night below:

“The pastor of my church is blind at 35 because of type 2 diabetes”

 “It’s easier to find liquor store than a head of lettuce in our neighborhood”

“Thirty five Californians have an amputation every day because of type 2 diabetes”

“My mama died from type 2 diabetes. Some of the money that’s being made by these soda companies needs to go back into the community.”

“The only doctor who believes the beverage industry’s lies is Dr. Pepper”

“From tooth decay to liver decay, I encourage you to put this on the ballot”

“Young people today are first generation in the history of America to have worse health impacts than their parents.”

“Soda is killing our community. We can ill afford to let outside industry come into our community and tear us apart.”

“In the battle between little Oakland and Big Soda, Oakland will win!”

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