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News & Media

3,000 Oakland residents rally to Save Lives Now!

Safe Neighborhoods, Youth Development

June 12, 2008

Oakland Community Organizations (OCO)

On May 22, over 3,000 members of Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) packed the city's Convention Center to meet with city, county, and state officials to secure commitments for the Oakland Strategy to reduce violence and save lives of Oakland's young people. Developed by OCO and partner organizations, the Oakland Strategy connects young people most at risk for gun violence to lifelines for opportunity.

Over the last decade, 1,059 people have been murdered in Oakland, with over 25 percent of these being youth and over 75 percent people of color. At the time of the event, there had been 55 homicides in Oakland this year, compared to 38 at the same time last year.

"A bullet doesn't have a name," testified OCO leader Yolanda Steen. "A 21 year old mother was killed when a stray bullet came through the wall of her bedroom while she was sleeping. I didn't want to believe it happened, that another person died for no reason…people are getting shot inside their home and not even outdoors anymore."

At the meeting, Lenore Anderson, the Mayor's Director of Public Safety, agreed to convene working groups in three neighborhoods in the next two months that would focus on and coordinate existing resources for individuals and locations known to be involved in gun violence. And six members of the City Council agreed to support the Oakland Strategy as policy and hold city agencies accountable to participate in the working groups, and target the city's violence prevention funds for this strategy. County Supervisor Nate Miley agreed to bring county agencies and resources to the table as well.

For more information on OCO, or to hear the audio of OCO leaders affected by homicide and gun violence, please visit the OCO website at www.oaklandcommunity.org .