Tag Archives: East Oakland

Popularity and Dangers of Sideshows: Will Latest Police Crackdown Work?

by Lee Benson

After three people were shot at an East Oakland sideshow last weekend, Oakland police said they would crack down, once again, on the long-standing popular phenomenon, which inspires rap lyrics such as Macaroni Time by Chief Keef.

It’s clear from interviews with students at McClymonds that as dangerous as sideshows may be, they attract youths because they feature drag racing, stunts such as donuts, souped up cars, and rowdy crowds. “It’s dangerous but exciting,” said James Smith, a junior. “And then there’s not much else to do at night in West Oakland,” said Kelton Reynolds, a sophomore.

Even community workers agree. Olis Simmons, president and CEO of Youth Uprising, told reporters that  youths in Oakland need positive alternatives to sideshows, but she does not have the resources to keep her neighborhood youth center open past 8 p.m.

In West Oakland, the city recently finished building a youth center on Market Street, but lacks the $190,000 for programming.

Alternatives In Action staff member Shelley Smith feels there are many alternatives, until 6 p.m. at the youth center at McClymonds.  “Kids have many different options of activities to do afterschool.  Some play games like pool and air hockey, some go to the studio and record music, and some chill and eat snacks.”

At night, however, there are no alternatives, community workers say. “(We need) to actually think creatively like some of our sister cities like  San Diego and think about other ways that we can actually redirect this energy,” Simmons said.

Energy does flow at sideshows. Spinning cars whirr, the rubber of tires burn, and crowds cheer. 

The chaos can be scary, students said. Tyanna Jackson, a senior at McClymonds High School says that, ” I have been to one on International but I will never go again. Side shows are crazy, cars are in the intersection doing donuts and often there is at least one person who is injured or worse. At this one, people began to shoot at each other.”

Most sideshows are impromptu. They move to another area if police appear, even West Oakland, which is smaller and easier to patrol than East Oakland, says Jacob Miles, a junior. “I went to a side show on 12th and Adeline, and somebody started shooting like ten minutes into the show,” he said.  “Everybody ran and that was my last time going to a side show.”

Students would prefer not to have to run. Desean Nelson, a junior at McClymonds High School said,” It doesn’t make any sense that people can’t just go to an event and have fun without having to worry about getting hit by bullets.” He added,  “The world that we live in is getting too sick and this unnecessary violence needs to stop.”

In the meantime, Oakland interim police Chief Sean Whent announced several strategies, including having police and CHP officers at popular spots for sideshows. Police launched a similar crackdown in 2010, increasing fines and ticketing spectators. It was unsuccessful.

McClymonds students grieve, again

macksmackdarvelhousebetter

file photo of house belonging to the family of Darvel McGillberry

By Lee Benson

McClymonds students are still reeling from two separate murders of teens in Oakland. Many sought grief counseling at school this week after the homicides of a McClymonds drop-out and of a well-liked basketball player from a rival school.

The 17-year-old high school basketball player, identified as Olajuwon Clayborn, was fatally wounded in a double shooting Sunday night in East Oakland, police said. Nicknamed “Tutu,” he was remembered as a great basketball player and popular student by McClymonds basketball players.

Denzel Bellot, a senior, said, “He was a good friend, and he was like a brother to me”.

The shooting took place near his home at about 10 p.m. Sunday in the 8600 block of Dowling Street.

Police said Clayborn and a 22-year-old Oakland man were standing on the sidewalk when someone approached them on foot and shot them both. The gunman fled on foot.

Another person at the scene drove Clayborn to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:26 p.m. The man injured in the shooting was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was treated and released.Police said they don’t have a motive, and no arrests have been made.

Clayborn was a senior at Castlemont High School who transferred from Berkeley High this year, said Oakland Unified School District Spokesman Troy Flint. Flint also said Clayborn played on the basketball team.

A few hours earlier, a 19-year-old man fatally shot about 6:30 p.m. Sunday inside a house in the 2900 block of West Street in West Oakland. He was identified as former McClymonds student Darvel McGillberry, 19, of Oakland. It was not clear if he lived in the house or nearby.

Police found McGillberry after neighbors reported gunfire. He died later at a hospital. Police don’t have a motive for the killing and no arrests have been made. Officer Leo Sanchez said police believe there were people with McGillberry inside the house when he was shot, but that they left before police arrived.

The murders shocked Mack students. “This madness needs to stop,” said Luckie Lovette, a junior. He added, “Young black males are getting killed left and right, day and night, which is just awful.”

Lovette said he saw grief counselor Charles Washington to talk about his reactions to the two murders. “It’s just one after the other, over and over.”

Gang Violence Rages Through the East, Affects Mack

130114_SCI_Guns_jpg_CROP_rectangle3-large

OPINION

by Jacob Miles

Somehow, violence in the East always spills over into West Oakland.

March was an awful month. In East Oakland, another life was claimed over so little: a dispute over the theft of $200 worth of marijuana  prompted two shootings at an East Oakland house Sunday morning that left one man dead, another wounded and a lengthy standoff with police before the suspected gunman was arrested.

In the following days, two teenagers, whose names were not released by Oakland Police, were  shot on separate occasions : one teen, near Fremont High, running to football practice, was shot randomly. The other victim was a 13-year old boy who was on his way to school, also shot by accident.

The violence wears us down. “I feel sad because I have a friend and when he was 13-years old he was shot and it still traumatized him to this day. Also it is scandalous how some one could shoot an innocent 13-year old boy,” said  Janaya Andrews, a freshman.

East Oakland lives up to its acquired nickname: “little Iraq.” Residents caught in the cross fire lose their lives to gang wars.  Mayor Jean Quan promises that the violence will start to decrease in Oakland but the death toll keeps mounting.

That violence touches us all. “I feel safe, sometimes, but when going from West Oakland to East Oakland I never know what is going to happen because something can pop-off at any time so I just wait to hear or see something.” Khristan Antoine, junior, explains.

 The borders between East and West, between more dangerous and less  dangerous, between “them”:and “us” seem fluid and ill-defined. “Students shouldn’t have to worry about their lives and worry about which parts of Oakland they should go and which ones shouldn’t be crossed,” said Franklin Hysten, senior director of community programs for Alternatives In Action at McClymonds.

Some students are taking steps to counter the wave of violence in Oakland.

“Our action to this rise in crime in our city will start with our Chicago Peace Pledges, followed by our Peace Talk on May 15, and our Peace fest on June 8. We will release more information on those actions later,” said Kharyshi Wiginton, youth leadership coordinator of Youth Organizing & Leadership Opportunities.

West Oakland has had its share of recent shootings, but the most controversial took place downtown: an Oakland police officer shot McClymonds freshman, Frenswa Raynor, 16,  innocent, and unarmed, mistaken for a suspect in an earlier robbery at Le Cheval restaurant.

“Hopefully, we can get answers to why these murders and shootings keep occurring and what we can do to prevent them from happening to our students,” said Harold Pearson, executive director of Student  Program for   Academic and Athletic Transitioning.

From the East to the West — And Back

 

by Khristan Antoine

As the bus approaches 82nd Ave in front of Walgreen’s, everybody crowds in, anxious to get a seat on a full bus. As I enter the revolving doors and show my AC Transit plastic bus pass with my scratched photo, I zero in on a  seat next to the window. I put my feet up on top of the seat across from me and reach for my iPod and tune to my favorite song, Poetic Justice by Kendrick Lamar. Different faces — sad, tired, blank and mostly bored — stare or focus on the cement, or at KFC, or at McDonald’s or at corner stores, still locked shut at dawn.

It’s a long, long ride for me — almost an hour — so I brace myself for the stares and glares and the rowdy high school kids (who have shorter rides than I) in the back of the bus.

The bus is my second home — I spend two hours a day, ten hours a week, one quarter of the time I spend at school, trying to go back and forth, on four buses.

I live in the East but attend McClymonds High School in the West, because I feel at home in the West. I was born and raised in West Oakland and so I feel loyal to these streets and the community. So if it takes 2 buses to get to school every day, then it’s worth it. I want to graduate from McClymonds to become a part of a great legacy of legends and be a Mack Warrior.

And so the bus is the means to graduation from Mack. And a known factor. Already as a kid, I felt comfortable on the bus. My mom has been AC Transit driver for eleven years, so I am familiar with the routes,what buses come out of the different stations. I’ve been to the bus yard where all the buses are lined up in the parking lot, like toy Legos. If there were an SAT test on East Bay bus routes and which landmarks they pass, I’d ace it.