Rep. Lee Meets with YA! Clients, Staff –
East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee met with Youth ALIVE! in early June as part of her tour of East Bay projects receiving funding in this year’s Federal budget. During her time at Youth ALIVE!, Rep. Lee listened to the stories of clients and talked with Youth ALIVE! staff about the surge in gun violence in Oakland. She wanted to know what our staff who work on the streets are seeing, and what our programs need in order to continue to support victims and reduce rates of violence here.
Among those who spoke were Youth ALIVE! counselor Angelina Gutierrez and veteran Youth ALIVE! Violence Interrupters Doral Myles and Eric Adams. Gutierrez talked about the necessity of providing bi-lingual, culturally sensitive therapy for victims. Myles and Adams said the proliferation of ghost guns and the social isolation and economic impact of COVID all are contributing to rising violence. They told Rep. Lee about their work not only interrupting violence but trying to bring the community together, through events like softball tournaments and community BBQ’s.
But the most moving moments of the day came with the testimony of clients from our Caught in the Crossfire hospital-based violence intervention program, and from our youth leadership and violence prevention peer education program, Teens on Target (TNT).
Shooting victim and TNT youth leader Edwin Galvan spoke about a feeling of belonging and finding a voice as a senior at Fremont High and member of Teens on Target. Joshua Hatcher told the congresswoman about his tragic past year, during which he lost his young niece to gun violence in Oakland, and then was a direct victim of gun violence, in a shooting in Fruitvale. He talked about working with Youth ALIVE! intervention specialist Carlos Jackson to find a path to healing.