This past Saturday, the place to be was the wonderful Neighborhood Block Party that was held in the Willie Wilkins park in deep East Oakland. It was the place to be, not because there was a huge crowd of folks there, rubbing elbows and hob nobbing with big shots.
East Oakland Block Party from Matt Beardsley on Vimeo.
|Just to be close to you by the Commodores was playing. Enough said|
This Block Party was the place to be because it was a call for peace in the streets of Oakland. Dedicated community organizers and interrupters came out to preach and teach the message of love and ending the gun violence that plagues East Oakland. There has been so many people shot down in our neighborhoods - so much random and not so random violence happening that our city has just shut down. Not too much good times are being had in the affected areas, and a whole lot of fear is the rule rather than the exception. We are just hiding out in our houses, hoping to avoid the madness of incessant gunfire.
The problem is we can't avoid it. It's everywhere and it's making victims of everybody. It's destroying our city. Everyone in our beloved city of Oakland is a victim, whether we know someone who has been shot or not. We have reached that "do or die" place where we have to stand up and fight this battle against gun violence. We have been forced into the proverbial corner, and there's nothing left to do but fight.
|Matt Beardsley and Rev Harry|
So how will this battle be waged? What is it that needs to happen? Love and care. It seems too simple to be the answer, but that's where it starts. With this in mind, the Reverend Harry Williams of Hood Movement 21 and a number of his friends endeavored to go to the 'hood and bring some love. Good music, good food and good times, along with the love of God was brought to the Willie Wilkins Park this past October 13, 2012, and the community was uplifted because of it.
|Brenda Grisham and Rev Harry Williams|
|A shy little girl enjoying the festivities|
Many were invited to speak and give their testimonies. It was a beautiful time of sharing and caring and showing love one to another. People were smiling, singing, dancing and being friendly with each other. All of this is the true meaning of community.
|Pastor Mustafa Muhyee|
|dancing and enjoying|
|community organizers chopping it up|
|Community Organizer Cesar Cruz|