West Oakland group on the prowl to bring community together with skating rink

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Friday, December 16, 2022
West Oakland group hopes to bring community together with skating rink
West Oakland group Panther Skate is on the prowl to bring the community together with a skating rink and hosts a fundraising event for the project.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Every Thursday you can find Keiyana Kemp and Tamara Copes skating the night away.

What started out as something small to do during the pandemic, has slowly grown over the past year to a full-on movement in their West Oakland neighborhood.

"After my mom and dad passed away, roller skating was a way for me to just kind of put everything to the pavement there," Kemp said.

Every week, the pair heads to a local park and are joined by dozens of skaters from around the area.

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A gathering where everyone is welcome, and one that's completely free.

But on Thursday, they held a skating fundraiser.

Their ultimate goal: to raise enough money to create a permanent skating rink for the West Oakland community.

"We have made a lot of strides in this one year. We've been meeting every week. We are now an official city of Oakland Parks and Recreation program," Copes said.

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The rink would be located in De Fremery Park, an ambitious project that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We are not trying to replace anything that's already in the park. We would be situated between the basketball and the skate park," Copes said.

But the rink would be a lot more than just a place to gather.

The group says it would also be an investment in a community that's been neglected for generations.

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"A lot of the youth in that community are underserved as far as non-traditional recreational sports," said Kemp.

With fundraising currently underway, the group says they hope to start the permitting process in the near future.

And while they still have a long way to go, they say the progress they've been able to make so far has been nothing short of remarkable.

"There are truly no real words to sum up the gratitude that I feel in my heart. There are no words. But for now thank you is going to have to suffice," Kemp said.

If you would like to donate to the group, you can do so here.

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