Social Justice Organizer Learns To Listen And Have Tough ‘Conversations’

STOCKTON, Observer (October 16, 2023)

By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer Toni McNeil recalls growing up on the south side of Stockton, a city known more for its crime rate than its graduation rate. A sign outside the entrance to the housing project where she lived read, “Stockton, Someplace Special.”

“Right under the sign folks were selling dope, smoking dope and banging,” McNeil says. “It was really like an oxymoron because you go put a sign up because there’s an airport not far from here. But this is the projects and the red line is further down the street. You don’t even invest in this community, but you put this big old sign, ‘Stockton, Someplace Special.’ Well, now I’m here to make a demand on that sign that’s no longer there.”

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