Highlighted REPORT

Oakland's Soda Tax and the Sweet Taste of Equity.


This report was released by the Sugar Freedom Project in October 2017.

Founded in April 2017, Sugar Freedom Project is a multi -stakeholder initiative committed to ensuring equitable allocation of the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (ssb) Distribution Tax Ordinance (Measure HH), commonly referred to as the “Soda Tax”. Led by Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action (TIGRA), Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC), Roots Community Health Clinic, and support from East Oakland Building Healthy Communities and The California Endowment, Sugar Freedom Project invests in low income communities of color who live in historically-marginalized neighborhoods that are disproportionately affected by negative health outcomes related to over consumption of sugary beverages and targeted by corporate beverage industry manipulation.

Sugar Freedom Project’s mission is to: (1) holistically engage East Oakland communities in empowerment and resiliency, through grassroots organizing and health and policy education, and (2) ensure Soda Tax revenues go to those disproportionately hit by illnesses related to over consumption of sugar.


East Oakland has the highest rates of diabetes and obesity (“diabesity”) in the city of Oakland and Alameda County. The passage of Measure HH by Oakland voters during the November 2016 elections can significantly address this epidemic in low-income Black and Brown communities. However, election precincts in deep East Oakland had the highest concentration of “No” votes on Measure HH (at least 60%), even though the measure passed by 61%.

The families who stood to gain the most from the Soda Tax voted against it.

Rooted in a racial justice praxis, Sugar Freedom Project prioritizes education, community organizing, participatory policy, and health equity principles in bringing residents, city officials, nonprofit leaders, and funders together to uplift low-income communities of color and the future of Oakland.

This report reflects the priorities and aspirations of residents in deep East Oakland.


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A collaborative project among East Oakland Building Healthy Communities, Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action (TIGRA), Oakland Food Policy Council, and the Roots Community Health Clinic, through the generous support of The California Endowment.
October 2017