Ms. Kameka, Proud Grandparent to Cragmont Students
I was born in Berkeley to the best parents in the world, Sarah Patterson (Monroe, Louisiana) and Norman Patterson Sr. (Hartshorne, Oklahoma). My parents purchased their home in South Berkeley in the late 60’s, and we’ve been here ever since. Ms. Sarah started (and still runs) a family childcare to be home with my two brothers and me. This home became a safe haven for parents and children throughout the city.
Growing up, I attended Berkeley schools that began with preschool at Grove Park/YAP; then Hillside Elementary, followed by Columbus (now called Rosa Parks), Longfellow (used to be an elementary school), King Middle School and High School at Berkeley High (Go Yellowjackets)!
I had a loving childhood, and my African American culture was a big part of my life. I spent a lot of quality time in the family kitchen learning to prepare authentic southern soul food with siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The best part was hearing all the family stories of resiliency from my ancestors.
I learned a lot about my culture at home with family, but my eyes were really opened when I became a student of the African American Studies department at Berkeley High! I greatly appreciate that it taught me to be proud of my brown skin and how to show up
as a ‘queen” mentally and emotionally. I loved the deep Black history taught in school. I had never heard of such greatness during the first 9 years in BUSD. Those four years played a big part in my Black pride journey.
Following in the footsteps of my mother and the advocacy push from “B-High,” I became a head preschool teacher at one of the top private schools in Oakland (Grace Children’s Academy). I modeled and taught advocacy to children, parents, and community leaders. GCA was a place where we took extraordinary pride in grooming our “diamonds in the rough.”
As I worked at the preschool, I realized children will thrive if parents are supported, so I decided to get trained in Community Health and became a Certified Community Health Worker. I wanted to be an advocate for my family, and my South Berkeley neighborhood. I started participating in programs throughout Berkeley that supported Black Families. I interned with Berkeley’s Black Infant Health and now I am a Program Coordinator for Healthy Black Families in Berkeley. I host monthly Empowerment Circles for dozens of young moms trying to raise Black children in these troubled times.
Being a mother of four, bonus mom of three (all attended Berkeley Schools) and a “SUPER-PROUD grandmother (Yaa-Yaa) to four (all current Cragmont students), advocacy is a huge part of my existence.
In 2018, I started my own non-profit “All Things Aye Gee” (honoring my son Alex Goodwin Jr.) to continue the fight for equity in the Bay Area. I am excited to be connecting with like-minded people who want to uplift and support Black and Brown communities.
I am “PROUD” to be an “African Queen” of Berkeley and I thank the Cragmont community for acknowledging the Black experience!!
Asante (thank you in Swahili), Ms. Kameka, Proud Grandparent to Cragmont Students
(Black History Is Every Day!!!!!!)