On Giving Tuesday, West Oakland Health Premieres New Short Film "Legacy of Love"

November 28, 2023

“In West Oakland, there were no doctors. They all had moved out. It was a hardship.

Our thing was, ‘We are the need. We live the need. We deal with the need daily.’”

Ms. Cloteal Davis, West Oakland Health, Co-Founder

Today we are excited to premiere “Legacy of Love: Community Healthcare Rooted in West Oakland.”

This short film highlights our origin story and the journey of our founders: Ms. Cloteal Davis, Ms. Jessie Hamilton, Ms. Olivia Parks, and Ms. Edith Brown. These determined African American mothers had moved to California during the Great Migration, seeking a better way of life. But when they landed in West Oakland, they realized their children’s health needs were at risk and not being served by the larger hospitals in the city. By 1967, they found “a way out of no way” and founded the first Black-led and Black-serving federally qualified health center (FQHC) on the west coast. Nearly 60 years later, West Oakland Health is embarking on its next chapter.

Stay tuned! We will be hosting community screenings to share news about our “Greatness Agenda” and our exciting new plans for 2024!

We Need You

This film is just one example of how we plan to fulfill our purpose of being the trusted hub advancing the Bay Area’s Black community’s health and dignity. Please consider making a tax-deductible DONATION on GIVING TUESDAY 11/28/23 or any day before the end of 2023.

A Historical Footnote
In the 50s and 60s, African Americans who sought quality healthcare at white-run institutions were often met with explicit racism, implicit bias, cultural indifference, and lack of compassion (sound familiar in 2023?). These hospitals were also too far away from West Oakland. They needed a Black-led and Black-serving health center that was reliable, respectful, trustworthy and focused on the specific needs of their community. Our founders organized, hosted events, networked with local politicians, and brokered deals with key leaders and organizations across various civic, activist, religious, and business sectors of the community. All just another day-in-the-life of Black women!  After opening its doors in March 1967, West Oakland Health Council immediately rose up to become the neighborhood anchor for healthcare, health education, food and housing programs, and voter registration. Several key staff from West Oakland Health even worked with Black Panther Party members when they launched their free health clinics in chapters around the country a couple years after West Oakland opened its doors. West Oakland Health became a spark that led to a transformation in health care advocacy in California and the nation.