Tag Archives: shootings

Gang Violence Rages Through the East, Affects Mack

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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.

Students March for Peace After Two Tragic Deaths

by Stephen Vance

McClymonds students will help lead a march against violence Friday, after participating  with several other schools in a 71-day fast-relay.

The march comes after two more students from McClymonds died last week, one in a shooting in East Oakland and the other after an epilepsy seizure in juvenile hall.

The fasting and march were in reaction to the shootings of a toddler in West Oakland and a 3-year-old in East Oakland.

“Now that babies are getting killed,” said Mack senior Eric Gant about the shootings of Hiram Lawrence and Carlos Nava, “you really have to stop it.”

Gant fasted 24 hours  and will address Mayor Jean Quan and members of the city council and school board who attend the rally after the march. “We want to make sure they follow through and that this issue doesn’t get overlooked.”

Close to 200 youth and their supporters started the community “Peace Pledge,” to show their commitment to peace-building and addressing the violence in our communities.

The campaign was launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Life Academy in East Oakland by youth leaders in Alternatives in Action’s Be A Man (BAM) and Real Ambitious Women (RAW) groups.  Since January, students from McClymonds, United for Success Academy and Bay Area School of Enterprise in Alameda joined the campaign to draw attention to the unprecedented number of children killed in Oakland over the last few months.

Marchers will include also students from the Urban Peace Movement, Skyline High School and others.

They began a collective fast beginning at 1 p.m. today that will end at a ceremony Friday.  A “March to Build Peace,” gathers Friday at 9 a.m. in front of Life Academy in Oakland (2101 35th Avenue) and ends at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (2465 34th Avenue, Oakland) with the fast-breaking ceremony and feast that begins at 11 a.m.

The youth groups will dedicate their “Peace Pledge” to families of victims of violence and urge city leaders to partner with them to address this issue.

“It’s bad enough when students don’t make it to the age of 16,” says Gant, “but it’s tragic and intolerable when babies are killed before they even get to kindergarden.”