Marisa Anderson Smith and Daughters

Listen to Marisa, Britney, and Haley’s interview!

Marisa Anderson Smith is a wife, a mother of a sixteen-year-old boy and twin girls, Britney and Haley, a homeowner, and she has been a Girl Scout leader for nearly a decade. Marisa came to Oakland from San Francisco 45 years ago when she was three-years-old. She sees herself as a “proud African-American Oakland woman” who believes in being of service to her community and her family.

For Marisa, gentrification is a threat to the unique diversity of Oakland. Over the years, she has noticed the disappearance of black-owned storefronts in Oakland, and she is concerned about people having to leave the city because they don’t own their homes and rent is too high. It troubles her that people who are driven to move to cities like Pittsburgh and Antioch often don’t have access to services that were available to them in Oakland, and it is particularly saddening that people who move are often separated from their church homes.

As Oakland changes, Marisa is concerned and yet hopeful about the future of her friends and family. She believes that the city’s educational system needs improvement, and she would like to see an evened playing field. Her daughter would like to see an end to the media’s negative stereotypes about her hometown. Legacy is very important to Marisa Anderson Smith, and she would like for her children to enjoy the beauty, diversity, and sense of community that can still be found here for a long time to come. As her daughter says of Oakland, “It’s a beautiful place to live.”