Daryle Allums of Adamika Village leads the crowd in chanting "STOP KILLING OUR KIDS." May 23, 2021. Oakland, Calif. Photo by Harvey Castro

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

Photo and audio by Harvey Castro

Antoine Towers, Oakland Violence Prevention Coalition

Photo and audio by Harvey Castro

Dr. Kim Rhoads, UC San Francisco & Umoja Health

Photo and audio by Harvey Castro

Rev. Harry Louis Williams aka “OG Rev”

Photo and audio by Harvey Castro

Dr. César Cruz, Homies Empowerment

Photo and audio by Harvey Castro

Loren Taylor, District 6 City Councilmember

Photo and audio by Harvey Castro

Daryle Allums, executive director of Adamika Village, waves a large Pan-African red, black, and green flag at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and MacArthur Boulevard in East Oakland. Adamika Village is one of the organizations that organized the Pull Up For Peace caravan in Deep East Oakland as a response to the recent rise in gun-related deaths in Oakland. May, 23, 2021. Oakland, Calif. Photo by Harvey Castro
Banners with photos of victims lost to gun violence are stacked next to the flatbed truck that was part of the Pull Up For Peace caravan from Huntsberry Liquor Store to Concordia Park to join the Mental Health Awareness & Resource Fair. May 23, 2021. Oakland, Calif. Photos by Harvey Castro
Left to right: Gordon Reed, Curtis Reed, Veronica Alder, and Tanya Lear of the non-profit Pool of Consumer Champions (POCC) were on site at the Mental Health Awareness & Resources Fair at Concordia Park following the car caravan. Gordon Reed is the Chairperson of POCC and he shares that since the pandemic, mental health has taken a toll on the community but also has seen community members be more receptive to addressing mental health concerns and seeking help. May 23, 2021. Oakland, Calif. Photo by Harvey Castro
Leo Mercer (left), with the Mercer Brotherhood and Adamika Village standing next to Reverend Harry Louis Williams. “Events like this help us show an evolving community that we are still here,” said Mercer. “Even with all the recent killings, folks haven’t given up the pursuit for peace on the streets. These communities deserve at least 5 years with no murders or developers further disenfranchising, to make time to build. We are moving that process forward.” May 23, 2021. Oakland, Calif. Photo by Harvey Castro
David Banks, 37, a board member of Oakland Strokes, at Concordia Park on Sunday for the resource fair following the Pull Up for Peace caravan, exchanging words with a six-year-old boy discovering rowing for the first time. Oakland Strokes is a non-profit committed to introducing Oakland youth to the benefits of an active lifestyle through rowing. May 23, 2021. Oakland, Calif. Photo by Harvey Castro
Kenzi Smith, founder of the Kenzi Smith HOPE Foundation, standing next to Councilman Loren Taylor (right). “Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all,” said Smith. “It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding. It seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. It creates bitterness in the survivor and brutality in the destroyers.” May 23, 2021. Oakland, Calif. Photo by Harvey Castro

Harvey Castro

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.