Tag Archives: BOCA

Berkeley community turns out for march against violence

Relatives and friends of Anthony Medearis Jr. mourned at the site of his shooting on Thursday night. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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More than 100 people took to the streets last Thursday night in an effort to build community and take a stand against violence in the part of the city that’s seen much of it this year.

Attendees at Ceasefire Walk Against Violence on Oct. 3 in West Berkeley included community organizers, members of congregations from around the city and beyond, and local residents and officials. Several family members and friends of Berkeley’s most recent homicide victim, Anthony Medearis Jr., led part of the procession for much of the night.

Miracle Paul, the aunt of one of Medearis’ sons, said it meant a lot to the family to see so many people turn out for the event. The procession walked a circuit from Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, at Hearst Avenue and Ninth Street, to the site of two of this year’s homicides, at Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue, then up to Camelia and Eighth streets where Medearis was killed in September.

“It’s too much going on in Berkeley, and we’re so small,” Paul said.

Medearis’ best friend, Gerard Jackson, was among the group. “It meant a lot that everyone came out to grieve with us,” he said. Jackson said he also knew Berkeley homicide victim Jermaine Davis, who was killed in July. Jackson wore memorial necklaces with both of his friends’ photographs on Thursday night. … Continue reading »

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Workshop urges action on gun violence around Berkeley

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Following the recent shootings of former Berkeley students in Oakland, a coalition of groups held a workshop Friday, May 24, to try to figure out ways to reduce the vulnerability of young people in the city. The meeting was spurred by the murder of 17-year-old Olajuwon Clayborn, another incident in which a Berkeley High student was left in a coma and later died, as well as other shootings with Berkeley student connections.

Berkeley Alliance, which coordinates the city’s 2020 Vision program, brought together representatives from Berkeley Unified School District, Berkeley police, City of Berkeley staff, and community organizations to work on violence prevention ideas that have emerged from 2020 Vision workgroups, including greater mental health suport, case workers for at-risk students, case managers for high school students, adopting training program, and community engagement in a citywide anti-violence campaign.  … Continue reading »

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Student voices are missing from gun safety report

One of the inner courtyards at Berkeley High
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Some significant voices are missing in the 11-page report the Ad Hoc Safety Committee prepared on how to reduce guns in Berkeley high schools: that of the students.

While two Berkeley High students sat on the committee — at least until the end of the academic year — efforts to find out and understand why students brought guns into school did not go far.

Susan Craig, the director of student services for the Berkeley Unified School District, interviewed almost all of the six Berkeley students who were caught with guns and asked them why they brought weapons on campus. None of them were particularly forthcoming about their reasons, she told the safety committee.

The district also enlisted the aid of Pastor Michael McBride of BOCA, a faith-based  action committee, to hold focus groups with students to discuss guns on campus. While those conversations happened, McBride did not provide a summary of those discussions to the committee, despite repeated phone calls asking for the information by Craig and Superintendent Bill Huyett.

McBride was not paid for his efforts, but in late May the school district approved a  $15,0000 contract with Lifelines to Healing, an anti-violence mentoring program promoted by BOCA. (Note 7/1/11: McBride said BOCA will not benefit financially from this contract and is in fact, donating $10,000 to the overall project.)

A survey conducted by the safety consultant Al Bahn of Edu-Safe Associates only garnered one student response. … Continue reading »

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