Oakland Religion Gathering to Gradual the Metropolis’s Rise in Lethal Gun Violence – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Oakland law enforcement officials and religious leaders joined forces in a rally on Sunday to call for an end to the surge in gun violence that has skyrocketed the city’s homicide rate.
Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told KPIX 5 that he has not seen a year this deadly in a long time. So far this year there have been 54 murders, which is more than double that of the same time last year.
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Armstrong and dozens of parishioners attended a lively prayer vigil in Bushrod Park in North Oakland on Sunday evening. After a bloody five months, the various churches decided to band together to pray for peace.
A church leader on a podium prayed, “Holy God, Holy God, we come before you and bring the tears of mothers who cry out for justice for their children.”
One of those mothers is Karen Keasley. Her son Powell Lee was shot dead at a Lake Merritt gas station in January. The former basketball player at Chico State University was the number 6 murder victim in 2021.
“I want to be part of the change that should take place,” said Keasley.
And for Cianna Williams, change cannot come soon enough. A stray ball last month killed her best friend in East Oakland. The student Demetrius Fleming was a passenger in a moving car.
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“It will go on if we don’t do anything about it. It will go on if we don’t talk about it, ”said Williams. “We have to stop committing black against black crimes. We must stop accusing others of killing us when we kill each other. “
“I can’t do it alone, we can’t stay out of this problem,” Armstrong told the crowd in the park.
The boss hoped the faith community would be able to reach out to people at high risk and convince them to drop their guns.
“There are young people in our city who are losing their lives at an alarming rate,” said Armstrong. “And it will really take a concerted effort to end this violence.”
The event on Sunday was the fourth vigil this year. Church leaders in Oakland formed the Bay Area Community Benefit Organization to meet once a month in different parts of the city.
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“I’ve been here in Oakland for 75 years. I’ve never seen it like this before,” said Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church. “So we know the only solution to what we see in the City of Oakland today is prayer.”