In the Green Room

Public Health Scholar Gilbert Ojeda

I May Go Chicago On You

Gilbert Ojeda

Gilbert Ojeda directs the California Program on Access to Care at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Before participating in a panel on the effects of immigration reform on Los Angeles, he explained in the Zócalo green room that although he’s lived in California for 40 years, he still dreams—and sometimes plays the part of—his hometown, Chicago.


Q:
If you had a theme song, what would it be?

A:
That’s a good one. Probably a song by George Harrison, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Q:
What’s your favorite spectator sport?

A:
Baseball.

Q:
Who do you root for?

A:
The Oakland A’s. American League all the time. Born and raised in Chicago, so I’ve always been American League.

Q:
How would you describe yourself in five words or less?

A:
Driven, older, and needing to resolve my legacy.

Q:
When is the last time you screamed at someone—or were screamed at?

A:
[Laughs.] The last time I was screamed at was by my program partner because she was feeling I was being too Chicago—too aggressive. Last time I screamed at someone? Probably my niece because she’s doing crazy things in her life.

Q:
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

A:
Yes: living in Chicago and trying to find something in Chicago with friends from California. I’ve been in California since 1973, but I’m still in Chicago for inner-sleeping life.

Q:
What’s your favorite plant or flower?

A:
Orchids.

Q:
What inspires you?

A:
Genius.

Q:
What food won’t you eat?

A:
Beef liver.

Q:
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A:
A painting from a muralist friend of mine after the birth of my first son.