Shani Aviram | KALW

Shani Aviram

Courtesy of Dan Harper

Sacred Harp singing is considered to be one of the oldest forms of American folk music. It dates back to the 1700s, to a choral style that developed in the churches of colonial New England, but eventually took root in the South. It’s a participatory tradition, which means that singers perform for themselves, not for an audience. Today, Sacred Harp is experiencing something of a renaissance, some even characterize it as the punk rock of choral music.

In 2011, Oakland experienced a spike in violent crime after four years of declining crime rates. As of April of this year, crime has risen by 21 percent. In Fruitvale, merchants are struggling to combat the violence that is plaguing the neighborhood. One unlikely business is taking part in that effort. Cooper’s Chapel Funeral Home has been in the neighborhood for almost a century and now, a new manager is set on making the historic mortuary a vital part of the community.

Photo by Shani Aviram

Oakland has the 5th busiest port in the country. According to the Port of Oakland they support between 50,000 and 73,000 jobs in Northern California, making it one of the Bay Area’s biggest economic engines. The port of Oakland says that economic development is its primary driver, but the truck drivers who make a living running goods to and from the port say deteriorating working conditions are cutting into their bottom line.