OAKLAND, CA - A proposal to open an education center for prison parolees is causing a stir in Oakland’s Korean community. Board members from the Koreatown-Northgate Community Benefits District (CBD) gathered recently in Oakland to discuss plans to build the center in the heart of Oakland’s Koreatown. The project has been subcontracted by the justice department to Center Point, a local firm that works to bolster the nonprofit sector. Korean business owners came out strongly against the idea, reports the Korea Times.
Keun-bae Yoo, vice president of the CBD, said that small business owners are concerned that recently released prisoners hanging out in the area would have a “negative impact” on business.
Although Koreatown has many Korean-owned businesses, a majority of the neighborhood’s residents are African American, many of whom support the center. Korea Times reporter Seo Ban Seok reports that one woman he spoke to lashed out at those opposed to the opening, saying their position was based on selfish concern for their businesses rather than for the welfare of the neighborhood as a whole.
The CBD plans to announce its official position on the center in the coming days.