Opinion: Clergy and community leaders call for an end to the violence that killed Sereinat’e Henderson 

The death has deeply wounded the community and its leaders insist that young men in Berkeley cease their lethal conflicts immediately.

On behalf of the Berkeley Black Ecumenical Ministerial Alliance and community members, we extend our deep condolences to the family and loved ones who have needlessly lost Sereinat’e Henderson.

Our hearts are broken and enraged by her death. She is known to many in our congregations and community. This death has deeply wounded our community.

We call out to the young men in our city to cease their lethal conflicts immediately. This is not who we are. All death is tragic and an affront to our people and our values. The death of a young, black woman, carrying another generation of life in her womb is beyond unconscionable. This is a community outrage and we demand all sides of this conflict to engage in an immediate truce and cease from violence, both retaliatory and ongoing.

BBEMA and community partners are working to bring together families and community members apart from government and law enforcement leaders, who have shown apathy and incompetence to respond to our worst pain and challenges. For years we have called for the implementation of gun violence reduction strategies, to no avail. We renew that call but realize we cannot wait on progressive lawmakers to demonstrate their commitment to address these challenges with integrity and expedience. And that is disappointing.

Together, we can and must intervene. Our collective leadership and unity can provide direction to the city of Berkeley and inform our region for a peaceful way forward grounded in peace, safety and justice. Work with us families. Connect with us young people. The death of  Sereinat’e on the streets of  Berkeley should not have happened. It is on us to ensure no more lives are needlessly lost in the short term or the long term as we mourn and process our deep anger, pain and grief. Let’s heal and solve these problems together. Stay tuned for a city-wide peace effort in the weeks to come.

United for Peace, Justice and Healing.

Pastor Michael McBride, Pastor Michael Smith, Bishop Kelly Woods, Lo Grayson, Todd Walker, Rev. Mary Breland, Rev. Kevin Craddock, Rev. Anthony Hughes, Pastor Brian Hunter, Rev. Ambrose Carroll, Joycelyn Eckels, Dwayne Phillips, Moni Law