Does race still matter in Hayward?

Two stories that ran on MLK Day about the Fairview neighborhood and Hayward housing discrimination fielded a lot of comments this week.

One person listed a whole slew of other Fairview families we should talk with, which goes to show you could write a whole book about Kelly Hill. Another pointed out that the Eden Council of Hope and Opportunity, or ECHO Housing, was formed in Hayward around that time (in 1964) to combat housing discrimination and is still going strong. And one local resident passed on a personal story about a former teacher, John Kriege, who was featured in one of the stories:

I want to thank you for the heartwarming story of Mr. Kriege and his drive to address racial injustice in Hayward in the 60’s. Mr. Kriege taught me Social Studies at John F. Kennedy High School in Fremont during my junior (senior) year of high school in 1980-81. He may or may not remember me but I always knew there was something special about him.

I was one of a small minority of African-American students at Kennedy High School and in Fremont at that time. My parents moved to Fremont in 1964 when I was a year old and thanks to neighbors and teachers like Mr. Kriege, we survived.

I count my experience of growing up in a predominantly White Fremont during the 60’s/70’s as the key to my openness to all people and my ability to see the positive in all situations. While it wasn’t easy, I learned to be comfortable with all races of people in spite of bigotry and racism and have used the experience to my benefit.

The writer allowed us to publish her note on the blog, but asked that we not include her name.

We all know that Hayward is a lot more diverse in the 21st century than it was 40 years ago. We’d be interested to hear how you think people in this area today deal with issues of race, and diversity, compared to other places you’ve been.