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Dozens gathered in East Oakland on Sunday for a car caravan that ended with a rally and a resource fair at Concordia Park, to demand an end to gun violence in the Black community, which since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring has spiked to levels not seen in the city for nearly a decade.
As of last week, at least 53 people have been killed in Oakland this year—more than double the number at this time last year. A majority of the homicides have occurred in East Oakland.
Sunday’s “Pull Up for Peace” event was organized by Adamika Village, a victim-led organization comprised of residents and family members who’ve lost loved ones to violence. The caravan began in front of Huntsberry Liquors on Foothill Boulevard, not far from where two community members were recently killed: Freeman Griffin, who was shot more than 20 times, and Reuben Lewis III, a youth football coach who was gunned down and killed in front of dozens of kids last February.
Oaklandside contributing photographer Harvey Castro was at the event, where he gathered photos and recorded the voices of community leaders and residents who attended. You can listen to their statements below, followed by captioned still images from the afternoon.
Tanya Dennis, Oakland Frontline Healers & Adamika Village
Antoine Towers, Oakland Violence Prevention Coalition
Dr. Kim Rhoads, UC San Francisco & Umoja Health
Rev. Harry Louis Williams aka “OG Rev”
Dr. César Cruz, Homies Empowerment
Loren Taylor, District 6 City Councilmember
Harvey Castro is an Oakland-based photographer and art administrator working on projects rooted in social justice. Sociopolitical issues related to inequality and diversity are central to his work leading to connections with individuals, which result in candid portraits and intimate scenarios taken in both public and private spaces. Genuine involvement and engagement are essential; often, his work has a strong feeling of reportage with many images showing the subject mid-exchange, active in communicating their situation. Reflected are bonds of support and camaraderie within each specific community – bonds that make resistance possible against adversity and exclusion.