Ceasefire Night Walk Calls For Peace Amid Gun Violence
With Oakland’s gun-homicide count reaching 138 deaths as of publication, First Church members joined Faith in Action East Bay for a second “Night Walk,” joining other faith communities in Oakland in calling for an end to gun violence and for peace. Six members from First Church participated in the event, which was held in the streets near St. Benedict’s Catholic Church at 2245 82nd Avenue.
Ceasefire Walks for Peace are interfaith events that address concerns of violence within the community by using a public display of unity as a form of communication. Ceasefire initiatives have been held in Oakland, Richmond, and Antioch and have been widely attended.
These events begin with an Ecumenical Prayer Service, followed by the peace walk. During the peace walk, participants hold signs and encourage the community to become more aware of the need for peace. The event concludes with a reflection among all participants.
Gun crime had been on a steady decline from 2012 – 2019. Ceasefire, the City of Oakland’s violence reduction strategy, had been credited with the reduction in shootings and homicides in Oakland during that period. Ceasefire is a data-driven strategy that partners with law enforcement, social services, and community groups to reduce violence and intervene in potentially violent outcomes. Causes for the increase in shootings are difficult to determine. Statistically, these crimes predominantly impact lower-income brown and black communities. Poverty, lack of employment, racism, and the pandemic are all offered by various experts as potential contributors.