Restore Oakland

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) are launching a nationally replicable restorative economics and restorative justice hub in East Oakland.

Restore Oakland will feature:

  • worker training programs
  • a cooperative food-enterprise incubator (COLORS CoOp Academy)
  • a COLORS restaurant
  • restorative justice programs
  • tenant housing services provided by Causa Justa :: Just Cause

The Opportunity:

The restaurant industry is the second largest industry in the United States, but is also one of the most segregated. Workers of color and immigrants have faced significant barriers to move into the industry’s best jobs. As a leading employer of formerly incarcerated people, and one of the largest and fastest growing employers in Oakland more generally, the industry can play a critical role in providing sustainable employment for those without enough options. ROC’s unique workforce development program helps workers of color advance into livable wage, fine dining service positions.

Due to centuries of racist policies and disinvestment, black and brown communities are often locked out of economic opportunities, and disproportionately locked up in the country's prisons and jails. By creating a space focused both on providing more economic opportunity, and on creating a healing space that prevents more people from entering the criminal justice system in the first place, Restore Oakland will strengthen whole, healthy, and economically vibrant communities. 

Restore Oakland will help thousands of families advance to economic security through both higher-paying jobs and the opportunity to launch new enterprises. By rooting residents in the neighboring community through access to quality jobs and job training programs, Restore Oakland will serve as a stabilizing force that leads to a safer and more prosperous Oakland.  

The bar at COLORS NY. Photo via ROC United.

Restorative Economics:

ROC's COLORS restaurants in New York, Detroit, and New Orleans serve as a venue in which workers can obtain hands-on restaurant training and experience in a guided environment. The COLORS Hospitality Opportunities for Workers (CHOW) Institute has provided thousands of low-wage workers with training and placement services to advance to livablewage restaurant jobs. 

Restore Oakland will also include the Co-Op Academy, an incubation academy for low-wage workers to create their own worker-owned food enterprises, such as pop-up restaurants, catering businesses, and food companies, using the COLORS kitchen.

Restorative Justice: 

Restore Oakland will serve as a neighborhood-based, community-centered space where community members come together to “break bread” over food and use a restorative justice approach to addressing crime, in which victims feel heard and supported, conflicts are resolved, and communities are strengthened. We will work with Community Works West, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, and other restorative justice practitioners.

For more information, please contact Liam Chinn, Restore Oakland Executive Director: 

Learn more about our work.