Oakland community leaders hope this new weekend brings less violence than what’s been seen in recent days.
Residents are desperate for answers and some are taking matters into their own hands and are taking steps to keep the youth away from violence and on the basketball court.
“We wanted to bring the community together because of the violence in Oakland,” said Maria Reems from the Center of Hope Community Church.
Pastors Brondon and Maria Reems collaborate with other churches and the city by providing a safe haven to attract young people when in need of an alternative to violence.
“What worked back in the day is not going to work today,” Pastor Brondon said. “You have to approach with a new mindset some. Some of our young people, they are out to make money.”
In some cases, that need for money has turned to gun battles and street robberies.
“The key is you really got to meet folks where they are,” the pastor said, “that’s what tonight is all about.”
Councilmember Loren Taylor’s district has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the city and he said its important to invest in “violence interrupters to continue supporting families of victims, those most likely to be involved.”
Organizers say they would like to put this program three times a year, and they’ like to expand it with more volunteers. However, that, of course, would take more money.
Source: NBC Bay Area