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Oakland Queer Space Qulture Collective Reopens for Business

Qulture Collective has officially reopened its doors after a brief closure and slight shuffle of affairs. Its reopening comes with a new coffee shop and art exhibition – and good vibes in trying times.

After closing for several months late last year to set up a new coffee shop, the Oakland queer community space returns full-force with new energy and a fresh art exhibition by artist Sequoya Akosua and poet Tai Rockett in celebration of women’s history month titled “Woman Is: A Conversation”.

Founded in 2015, Qulture Collective provides, if nothing else, a moment of
calm for LGBTQ people in the East Bay area were gentrification has seemed to wipe out every last venue specifically serving the community.

“We wanted to create a safe space for the community. There are tons of cafes and places for people to do work all over the city but they are most likely heteronormative, which can be hard for queer people who are, for instance, often misgendered at those establishments,” says Alyah Baker, one of three Qulture Collective cofounders.

It was also important for the founders of Qulture Collective that the space be accessible to all LGBTQ people who are often exclude from opportunities because of their sexual orientation and gender identities.

“Anyone can come and work here. We have free Wifi whether you buy a cup of coffee or not. We wanted the space to be accessible. People who live in the margins of society already go through a lot daily just to survive.”

A handful of queer businesses currently run from this space which consists of a coffee shop, dining area and events space, a gallery and workshop – where several local artists and craftspeople create, collaborate and sell their work.

Baker says that apart from keeping the space open this way, Qulture Collective hosts workshops and events throughout the year aiming to educate, simulate and heal the LGBTQ community in Oakland.

“This year in particular, given everything that is happening politically, we are probably going to spend a lot of energy helping people deal with the trauma caused by the election and the regressive policies of the currently ruling party.”

Patrons can look forward herbal healing classes and fairs, meditation sessions and speak outs, just to name a few. Baker says the due to the cost of medical care in the country, they sought to expose the community to healing alternatives that are just as effective but at a fraction of the cost.

For more information and upcoming events, visit qulturecollective.com.

Angelo Louw
Angelo C. Louw
Angelo C Louw is the Advocacy Officer at Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII). He is also a Fulbright/Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship 2016-2017 awardee. He writes in his personal capacity.