I was born and raised in Oakland and am proud to call myself an Oakland native. My sister and I grew up in a single-parent household. I have always admired and been inspired by the amazing strength, resilience, and good spirit of my immigrant mother who paved a way for herself here in this country despite the odds. I recognize our story as part of the larger fabric of the stories of many other immigrant and working class families here in Oakland, and that is part of what has made me so passionate about preserving and protecting the culture and community in this city amidst this time of rapid change and displacement. After working in corporate business management and strategy for 7 years in San Jose, I returned to my hometown and started working as a consultant and freelancer, with a focus on serving local community business growth. I assisted in the start-up phase of several small businesses. My first foray into business ownership came in 2014 when my wife and I took over operations of a restaurant that my mother had worked at for 20 years. We made sure to keep the long-time downtown Oakland fixture true to its roots by prioritizing the needs of the many loyal and long-time customers who have lived and worked here for decades. We are now a happily women-owned and operated family enterprise. In addition to consulting and operating the restaurant, for three years I also worked as the logistics director for some of the largest queer events in the Bay Area. I am passionate about supporting the queer community, and am especially mindful toward the doubly marginalized QTPOC (Queer & Trans People of Color) community that I include myself in. This was the drive behind opening Qulture Collective: to hold safe, accessible space in downtown Oakland that would become a community platform to share and prioritize our voices and our stories as well as a place for folks to come together, to strengthen our various causes and goals. I want us all to succeed, and I believe that having a common place to gather and connect will help us to grow. I want to put power into the hands of our community.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Qulture Collective is a multi-use space and queer community platform in downtown Oakland featuring a retail shop, cafe, and gallery. We are dedicated to serving the LGBTQIA+ and allied community with a focus on building QTPOC visibility.
Qulture Collective brings together artists, entrepreneurs, activists, and visionaries from queer and allied communities. Our vision is to strengthen the vibrant community in Oakland by collectively creating a shared space to build enterprise. This generates an ongoing cycle of support and jobs that will benefit the community for years to come.
Our cafe employs queer and allied staff, our retail shop showcases goods made by queer artisans, and our gallery features art by people across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum from Oakland, the Bay, and beyond. In addition to hosting in-house events, we also support a variety of cultural, healing, and arts events run by community members.
What is the purpose of this loan?
We will use this capital to purchase an espresso machine and a coffee batch brewer for the cafe.
In the past we have supported events and workshops such as QTPOC acupuncture clinics, herbalist fairs, and writing workshops for Black Queer & Trans writers. We host a monthly film screening on queer topics and a semi-regular open mic night. With these funds, we will be able to support and host more events like these, on a more regular basis.
Our mission is to provide a safe and accessible space for marginalized communities.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years