During Black History Month, Larkin Street is honored to showcase the remarkable achievements of our Black team members. Notably, we celebrate the exceptional work of Olaywa Austin, Asha Robertson, and Deon D. Price.

Olaywa Austin, Culture & Learning Manager, Culture & Learning Department
Olaywa enriches our team with a unique blend of experiences, from winning a 3rd Grade Spelling Bee to serving in the U.S. Air Force during Desert Storm/Desert Shield. As the founder of Oakland Black Pride, Olaywa champions black and queer identities, marking a significant impact with the inaugural Black Pride Festival in Oakland. Their life philosophy encourages embracing individuality, finding supportive communities, and accepting the journey of continuous learning.

Olaywa motivates us by saying:

“Embrace the uniqueness that is you, your authenticity is your greatest asset. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and support you AND hold you accountable. Lastly, it’s ok to not have all the answers. Life is a continuous learning experience, and each day is an opportunity for growth and discovery!”

Asha Robertson, Program Director, Transitional Living Programs & Administrator, Diamond Youth Shelter
Asha has committed nearly ten years to Larkin Street, driven by her early experiences of supporting friends in group homes. She aims to reform the system for underaged and transitional aged youth through advocacy and change. Asha encourages newcomers to:

“Spend time finding out what your passion is, then make a living out of it. Believe in yourself, do not depend on the credit from others, set one year, five year, then ten year goals, and rock them!”

She draws inspiration from her faith, the strong black women in her family, and a dedication to excellence.

Deon D. Price, Associate Director, LSA Employment Services
Deon brings over thirty years of experience as a Father, Grandfather, Author, and Youth Life Skills Coach, dedicating his adult life to youth and community service in California. With a unique blend of motivational comedy, he has impacted youth, parents, educators, and workers through talks and workshops. As a columnist, his “This Youth Generation” articles have reached hundreds of thousands, appearing in various publications. He authored “Raised In Hell” and hosts the podcast “This Youth Generation, Life of a Youth Worker.” He is driven by:

“True agape love for the wellbeing of people, particularly youth. Together, we can improve the quality of life for the youth in our community!”

Stay tuned for more youth and staff highlights as we continue to celebrate the achievements of our Black team members throughout Black History Month.

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