40 x 40 initiative

We’re continuously striving to improve our community and add capacity to fulfill the needs of our entire area.

Neighborhood-based work

Roots partners with community-based organizations to implement a model that integrates mental health and wellness supports for children, youth, and families; neighborhood beautification efforts; and career paths and employment readiness and exploration.

The 40×40 Initiative is a collaboration between Roots Community Health, the Black Cultural Zone Collaborative, the Brotherhood of Elders Network, and the East Oakland Youth Development Center.

Monika Davis Scott, LMFT, Marriage and Family Therapist, Roots Behavioral Health Department

“My goal is to help families reach their equilibrium again.”

Monika Davis Scott, LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist
Roots Behavioral Health Department

What is the 40×40?

In the heart of East Oakland, there is a roughly 40 by 40 block area (from Seminary Ave to the Oakland-San Leandro border, and from MacArthur Blvd. to the Bay) that is home to and a stronghold for over 30,000 people of African descent.

What is the 40×40 initiative?

The 40×40 initiative is a mission undertaken in 2019 by a collective of community-based organizations driven to address the systemic issues of racism and displacement that has stunted the potential vibrancy of a roughly 40×40 block area.

What do we do?

The vision is to transform the 40×40 into a place where people have what they need to heal, thrive, rejoice, and prosper.  That vision is far different from today’s reality where African Americans experience the worst quality of life indicators, including life expectancy, homelessness and educational attainment. As the demographics of Oakland rapidly change, and with the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting our community, we find that time is of the essence in addressing these disparities.  Together, we will protect and build our beloved community in the 40×40, so our people have what we need to heal, thrive, rejoice, and prosper!”

Stats in the 40 x 40

    • Nearly half of Black families in poverty and 41% of Black residents in poverty citywide live in the 40×40 area.
    • Within this area, household income and life expectancy are lowest among Black residents compared to other racial/ethnic groups.
    • There is a 15-year gap in life expectancy between Black residents in East Oakland (70 years) and white residents of the Oakland Hills (85 years).

Realizing the vision for the 40×40 is a long-term, generational strategy and initiative to improve the lives of current and legacy residents.

People’s Advisory Council (PAC)

Beginning work in 2021, we began by forming the People’s Advisory Council (PAC), an advisory council made up of Black community leaders and residents who live in (or have lived in) the 40×40, with a vested interest and knowledge of the issues impacting their community. Get Involved! 

40 x 40 NEWS

Strategies for the 40×40

    1. Advocate for more resources & investments in the 40×40 to support our people & community for generations to come;
    2. Understand community needs & gaps;
    3. Map out and build on community resources & assets; and
    4. Creatively express and share our stories and visions for Black health & safety, community, and belonging in the 40×40 through art and expression walls


The Rise East 10-Year Plan is our roadmap to make deep, lasting improvements in the 40×40 neighborhood of East Oakland for current, future and legacy residents. More than 400 residents contributed their ideas to this plan.