Talking "The Power of Community Currency" with Oakland entrepreneur and City Council Candidate, Derreck Johnson!
Time & Location
About the Event
This unique moment in Oakland demands a different kind of leader, who knows firsthand the struggles of our community’s most vulnerable, who has a proven ability to transform lives for those who need it most, and who’s ready to help lead Oakland’s recovery and then tackle the many challenges that have faced our community for too long. The leader who was made for this moment is Derreck Johnson. Son of Oakland: Third generation Oaklander raised in the Acorn projects by a single mom. Growing up, Derreck saw people rise in the most inspiring ways and fall most tragically. Thanks to his strong extended family and community, Derreck would go on to high school, then Fisk University, a historic black college in the south, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, which promoted brotherhood, service, and community advocacy. After graduation, he came home determined to serve the community that made him who he is. Today, he’s a successful entrepreneur making an incredible difference for Oakland. Building a Pillar of Community and Transforming Lives: In 2004, Derreck opened Home of Chicken and Waffles in Jack London Square. The restaurant would become a pillar of this community, a way to help Oaklanders who hadn’t been as lucky as Derreck had. While over the years, Derreck has created hundreds of jobs, he’s most proud of the fact that 70 percent of his employees are formerly incarcerated people, folks who nobody would give a second chance until Derreck did. Derreck finds nothing more inspiring than helping turn someone’s life around, and seeing them get that first paycheck, that first apartment, or even that college degree. During the COVID-19 crisis, Derreck’s restaurant has provided free meals to hospital workers and kitchen space to help feed the community. For Derreck, this crisis is personal, because he knows just how much his employees depend on a functioning economy and a paycheck In the Community, Putting in Work, Making a Difference: Derreck has served Oakland from many perspectives, helping nonprofits, foundations, and City programs make a difference in Oakland. He’s worked to reduce violence through Khadafy Washington Foundation for Non-Violence and oversaw violence prevention funding on the City’s Measure Y Committee. He’s overseen critical employment and job training programs that create opportunity for Oaklanders through his work on the City’s Workforce Development Board. And he’s provided scholarships to low-income youth through the Summit Bank Foundation.