Poppies & Poison: There's Mills in these Hills

There's just a bit of green left on the hillside, turning brown for the summer.

Poppies are blooming everywhere—in the medians of Joaquin Miller Road, in the cracks of the stairs.

The poison oak is luscious and green. If I didn't know better I'd collect arms full of these glossy, bountiful leaves for a bouquet. I love the story that Poison Oak is the forest protector, that the Miwok would give it to their children tiny bites to eat, like a vaccine, to befriend it. But today I'm mad about deceptions. About those who appear friendly but are actually hostile. About poison pills

Mills College has been intertwined with this park since before it began, and it is now. Mills produces women leaders—some of whom are on the FOJMP board. You don't hear about Jack London's wife, who went to and worked at Mills, or the honorary degree bestowed by Mills on Ina Coolbrith. The East Bay Hills open space exists because of president Aurelia Henry Reinhardt. The Mills Cyclones trained in these hills for decades...THEY ARE NO MORE. 

A Mills student interviewed me for her senior thesis today, in a secret spot on the top of a secret hill. As we descended, the city alarm sounded, nearly an hour past noon, echoing my feelings. She's part of the last graduating class, feeling grateful, sad and resigned to its murder/suicide by a board of trustees that covered up their failure with a nuclear bomb blast that will have a fallout we will all feel. She doesn't know—no one knows—that the merger is NOT a done deal, and we must fight it. As protective of this treasured Oakland Institution as I am protective of this park...perhaps more so. So please indulge me in making an important public notice...we need to speak up to stop this ill-conceived and irresponsible acquisition. It's bad for Oakland and I'll show you why at: 

7pm on Wednesday, May 18th on Zoom.

This event, which will feature a panel of Mills & Oaklanders revealing what is really happening behind the scenes at Mills College, is FREE. Register here.

Thank you.


  1. An attack on any of us is an attack on us all. Oakland's educational legacy is not for sale. Not its public schools, not its colleges, not its continuing ed programs.


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