Why We Can’t Wait – 2021 Oakland Virtual Event Recap

On May 6th, 2021, buildOn hosted a virtual event featuring buildOn Oakland students, corporate leaders, artists, and supporters. We are still in awe of all the inspiring voices, performances, and support that we witnessed. Below are some of our favorite quotes, clips, and moments from this special evening.

Relive some of our favorite moments from the 2021 Oakland Virtual Event with the recap video above!

John Forté, Grammy-nominated recording artist, filmmaker, writer, and activist.

John Forté

We are so grateful to Grammy-nominated recording artist, filmmaker, writer, and activist John Forté for co-hosting the event. Alongside his co-host, John helped create an evening imbued with compassion and clarity. He also delivered a moving musical performance.

The Covid-19 pandemic and current racial justice movement continue to showcase the inequality in every corner of society, from education to healthcare to public safety. But as we move into an era of restoration, we have a chance to use this time to rebuild a more just and inclusive world.

John Forté

Angel Tlachi
Angel Tlachi, buildOn Oakland student and co-host of the virtual event.

Angel Tlachi

Oakland High School senior Angel shined as a co-host alongside John Forté. In the words of John, “Angel, you’re a natural.” We couldn’t have found a better student to guide us through the evening.

For me, an inclusive world looks like everyone working as a community to create change. An inclusive world means everyone is able to express themselves in ways without feeling judged. It’s a world where someone doesn’t fear for their lives and everyone has the same opportunities. Achieving this inclusive world is difficult, but possible. An inclusive world is where there are no setbacks based on what you look like, where you live, or who you love.

Angel Tlachi

Anh Vong

Oakland High School senior Anh shared how community service has shaped her as a leader, and she delivered a powerful message on unity, community, and taking action. Check out her full speech above!

To me, it doesn’t matter how much you have. As cheesy as it may sound, it’s about how much you can offer, like your friendship, a smile, or small acts of kindness.

Anh Vong

Juan Guillermo Matias Pablo

We also heard from buildOn alumnus Juan Guillermo Matias Pablo. Juan offered attendees a moving account of how he got involved with buildOn, what service means to him, and Why We Can’t Wait to serve others. Check out Juan’s full speech above!

No matter who you are or where you are, you can always help out.

Juan Pablo

Shirley Le

Congratulations to Shirley Le – our 2021 Constructive Leadership Award Winner! Shirley is the co-president of Oakland High School’s buildOn Ambassador Team, and she is a courageous leader whose empathy and resilience shine through in her service.

If anything, I feel like this award should be for all [the buildOn Ambassador students at Oakland High School]. We’ve worked so hard – together – to create a community that encourages solidarity, discussion, and action within our team, school, and service projects. I love each and every one of them so much for it.

Shirley Le

Alan Murray


Chip Bergh

President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.

One of the night’s many highlights came when Alan Murray, CEO of FORTUNE, interviewed Chip Bergh, President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. Chip and Alan discussed a number of topics including what it means to lead with values and purpose, and Chip delivered an inspiring reminder of the importance of taking action and doing the right thing despite the consequences.

Everything we do in our company starts with our values.

Chip Bergh

Over the course of the event, we also had the privilege of hearing from some incredible musicians and artists, including Michael Franti, Andy Grammer, and Bob Weir and Wolf Bros.

Michael Franti

Andy Grammer

Bob Weir and Wolf Bros.

Thank you to everyone who showed up and expressed their support of urgently building a more just and inclusive world. We are so grateful for all the amazing people that make up the buildOn Movement. If you didn’t get a chance to attend and would like to show your support through a donation, it’s not too late! Make a donation to buildOn Oakland here.

Don’t miss the next chance to come together and hear more great conversations, inspiring student voices, and special performances – check out our upcoming events!