What does violence interruption mean & look like?

In each of our neighborhoods, we deserve to feel safe. And Oakland is now implementing our new budget to support comprehensive solutions for community safety including more investment in violence prevention, alternative crisis response, homeless solutions, good jobs, parks, arts and more. 

Violence interrupter, community ambassador, community healing. What do these terms really mean, why do they matter, and how can we expand our impact to address violence now that Oakland’s budget has tripled the Department of Violence Prevention’s (DVP) funding?

I was inspired hosting a conversation last week on Community Healing + Violence Prevention focused on these very questions, joined by Oakland’s frontline leaders addressing trauma, gun / gang / group violence, and gender-based violence in our communities:

  • Guillermo Cespedes, Oakland's Chief of Violence Prevention
  • Kentrell Killens, DVP Life Coach/Case Manager & Good Brotha Network Co-Founder
  • Jennifer Lyle, Executive Director of MISSSEY
  • Mike Muscadine, CURYJ Co-Founder and Community Healing Manager

 

What is violence prevention and how can our efforts to keep Oakland safe be expanded with this significant increase in the Department of Violence Prevention’s budget?

 

These are the investments that DVP will make in the coming year: 

  1. Increase the number and quality of violence interrupters and life coaches employed in Oakland to prevent violence before it happens. As Chief Cespedes shared, San Francisco’s 2020 homicide rate was 5 homicides per 100,000 residents, with 32 violence interrupters. By contrast, Oakland is severely understaffed: our homicide rate was 24 homicides per 100,000 residents; we have only 10 violence interrupters.
    • As shared by Mike and Kentrell in our panela violence interrupter intervenes on the frontlines at the heart of conflicts taking place -- whether by showing up to de-escalate or mediate the scene of a potential shooting, or addressing violence that has already taken place to prevent retaliatory violence and further cycles of harm. 
    • Violence interrupters are credible, trusted messengers who hold deep relationships with community and are regularly engaging with those committing or receiving harm and their family members, as well as teachers, faith leaders, counselors, small business / mom and pop store owners and workers, and neighbors.
    • Violence interrupters have intimate knowledge of the complex connections that shape turf-related / group / gang violence. 
    • Violence interruption comes from indigenous traditions that activate the power of relationships and community to keep us safe.
  2. Increase access to housing and jobs for victims of intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and the commercial sexual exploitation of youth; the majority of these individuals do not have housing or alternative opportunities. Meeting these individuals’ needs will shape the conditions in which violence and shootings are heavily concentrated in our neighborhoods that are hotspots for human trafficking, such as D2’s San Antonio.
  3. Launch of Town Nights over the next year -- an evidence-based strategy, proven extremely effective in other cities, focused on activating our recreational sites (parks and public spaces) during the specific days and times when the majority of shootings and intimate partner violence occurs in our city. This activation will feature robust and integrated music, arts, culture, sports, food, and more to deepen multi-generational community building and safety as a comprehensive public health and violence prevention strategy.

In case you missed it, see recent coverage on our budget’s investments to stop violence before it occurs and information that addresses inaccurate messages about the police budget: 

 

Now that Oakland's budget has been adopted, we must come together to implement the budget for the people of Oakland. This includes critical work this year to focus on a strong public safety transition of calls for service — operationalizing MACRO mobile crisis response in the Fire Department, transitioning selected traffic enforcement to the Transportation Department, and identifying other non-violent, non-criminal calls for service to transition next year and beyond. This work will allow police to focus on serious and violent crime, as we expand our violence prevention programs. 

In this newsletter, you’ll find information about:

  • Previews of this week's Council meetings
  • City and District 2 news and resources 

 

With Oakland Love,
 
Nikki Fortunato Bas
Council President + District 2, City of Oakland

Tuesday 7/6: Council Meeting Preview 

At this coming Tuesday, July 6th’s 1:30 pm City Council meeting:

  • Item 2.14: BID Ballots - Chinatown And Fruitvale Resolution. From: Council President Fortunato Bas. Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution: (1) Authorizing And Directing The City Administrator To Cast A Ballot In Favor Of The Formation Of The Chinatown Community Benefit Business Improvement District 2021 (“Chinatown BID 2021”) On Behalf Of City Owned Properties Within The Chinatown BID 2021; And (2) Authorizing And Directing The City Administrator To Cast A Ballot In Favor Of The Formation Of The Fruitvale Community Benefit Business Improvement District 2021 (“Fruitvale BID 2021”) On Behalf Of City Owned Properties Within The Fruitvale BID 2021
  • Item 12: Coliseum Non-Exclusive Negotiation. From: Economic Workforce And Development Department. Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The City Administrator To Negotiate, Non-Exclusively, With The 1) African American Sports And Entertainment Group; 2) Tripp Development; 3) The Renaissance Companies; 4) Dave Stewart And Lonnie Murray; And 5) Athletics Investment Group LLC, Regarding The Terms Of Disposition Of The City’s Undivided 50% Fee Interest In The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex Consisting Of Various Parcels Bounded By San Leandro Street, 66th Avenue, Hegenberger Road And Interstate 880

 

See details to join the meeting and share public comment or e-comments here.  

Wednesday 7/7: Committee Meeting Preview 

At this coming Wednesday, July 7th’s 10 am Community & Economic Development Committee meeting, we will conduct a study session and receive an informational briefing on the proposed Howard Terminal Waterfront Ballpark project.

Topics include:

  • The Proposed Non-Binding Terms Of A Development Agreement With The Athletics Investment Group LLC D/B/A The Oakland Athletics, A California Limited Liability Company, Including Terms For, But Not Limited To, A Potential Infrastructure Financing District, Affordable Housing, And Non-Relocation, Relating To The Proposed Project
  • The Proposed Oakland Waterfront Ballpark District Project To Be Developed On The Property Known As The Howard Terminal At The Port Of Oakland (Project), Including But Not Limited To The Following: (1) Port Of Oakland’s And City’s Project Decision Responsibilities, Including The City-Port Regulatory Framework; (2) Project Approvals And Timelines; (3) Community Benefits; (4) Analysis Of Environmental Toxic Contaminants At Project Site And Anticipated Remediation Process; And (5) Potential Impacts To Nearby Maritime Industry And Port-Related And Non-Port Related Jobs

 

This study session is an opportunity for the Council and the Public to hear information, ask questions and share feedback. There will not be a vote on the project on July 7th. However, a vote on a non-binding term sheet is scheduled for the July 20th City Council meeting.

See details to join the meeting and share public comment or e-comments here.  

City + District 2 News and Resources
Volunteer Clean-Up Opportunities, Art Grants, After School Program & more

City Arts Grants: Apply at www.oaklandculturalarts.org by 5pm, July 15 for the City’s 2021-22 Cultural Funding Program grants supporting arts and cultural activities in three categories: $7K grants for Neighborhood Voices Individual Artist Projects, up to $20K for Neighborhood Voices Organization Projects, and up to $35K for Organizational Assistance (general operating support). Contact Denise Pate, Cultural Funding Coordinator, at 510-238-7561 or [email protected] for more info.

Apply for Oakland Youth Advisory Commission (OYAC): The early application deadline has been extended to July 7 at 5pm. OYAC is seeking youth leaders 13-years-old and up to center and empower the voices of our low-income, Black, API, Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQ, and Immigrant/Undocumented Youth, particularly from West and East Oakland. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all seats are filled.

Enrollment Now Open for Oakland Parks & Rec After School Program: OPYRD’s Town After School program provides structured games and activities, homework assistance, and STEAM Activities. Creative play is a center theme that focuses on developing much needed social and emotional skills. Cultural Awareness projects are provided to help participants explore diverse perspectives, ideas, beliefs and customs. Register here and check out financial aid information here.

D2’s Myra Estrada Named 2021 Youth Poet Laureate: Congrats to our 2021 Youth Poet Laureate - Oakland / D2's very own Myra Estrada, whose work sheds light on her experiences of misogyny, racism, and other powerful themes. Ms. Estrada says, “Being named Oakland Youth Poet Laureate gives me hope for my future and my generation. With my title I’ll strive to advocate for amplified youth voices and youth demands and wishes for the betterment of Oakland.” Congrats also to Vice Youth Poet Laureates, Kaylan Black and Nadia Elbgal, as well as the four other talented finalists. Watch our young people's performances here.

East Bay MUD Customer Assistance Program and Resources to Save Water & Money: As California continues to face extreme drought conditions, let’s do our part to protect our state’s resources and natural beauty. EBMUD has resources on outdoor / gardening water conservation; a free online portal to track household water use, be notified of potential leaks, and tips to save money on utility bills; and several rebate programs. EBMUD also has a Customer Assistance Program (CAP) for qualified low-income customers in single-family dwellings and for eligible homeless shelters to help pay for a portion of water bill costs. 

Eastlake Clean-Up Next Sunday: Come through with friends and family from 9:30-11:30 am Sunday July 11th to help beautify and take care of our Eastlake neighborhood. Supplies, snacks, water to be provided. Meet at 441 East 18th St, corner of 5th Ave.

Summer of Sundays Weekly Lake Merritt Clean-Ups: My staff had a great time at last weekend’s Summer of Sundays launch, kicking off with 15 volunteers who together collected 20 bags of litter and received countless thank-yous from Lake visitors! Join the weekly clean-up on Sundays from 6 - 7:30pm. Meet on Bellevue near the corner of Staten. Training, instructions, gloves, pickers and plastic bags to be provided. Summer of Sundays is a joint project of Lake Merritt Advocates and Untrash the Planet.


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  • Nikki Fortunato Bas, Council President