The Toll & The Heart –
Shootings and homicides have increased this year in cities across America and here is no different. It is important to understand why, but equally important is the toll this increased violence is taking on our youth, our families, and on those who are out there trying to prevent violence and provide support to victims. A recent article from The Guardian considers the various causes of the national increase in violence.
It features thoughtful commentary from our Deputy Director, John Torres, who long ago dedicated his life to bringing peace where there once was violence, and our Khadafy Washington Project Coordinator Jasmine Hardison, whose team of crisis responders supports families of homicide victims in the immediate aftermath of a killing. They have had a busy year. In the article, Jasmine discusses her own painful journey toward healing after violence and describes what she is seeing on the streets this year: “Mothers are scrambling and holding each other up. I’ve walked in those shoes so I can help them with getting their loved ones’ arrangements together and at the same time keep my son’s legacy alive.”
At Youth ALIVE!, we knew from the very beginning of this pandemic that our continued presence – on the streets, in the hospitals, in the schools – would be a sign to our community that love and support would not disappear. Then George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville had their lives senselessly taken by state violence, joining Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Stephon Clark, Derrick Jones, and far too many other people of color to name. So we stepped up our services to meet the community’s needs in every way we could. Some of our practices had to change in order to protect our staff and clients, but we found ways to hold youth affected by violence in our embrace through increased mentoring, to walk with more than 100 survivors of violence and with the families of each homicide victim. Our intervention team continued to mediate potentially violent conflicts on the streets and to keep at-risk youth safe and free. Our advocacy work continued, online. And our counselors found innovative ways to comfort the afflicted and to raise spirits. Youth ALIVE! has been out there every single day and every night.
And so, as a strange and unique holiday season gets into full swing, and as a new and hopefully more promising year approaches, we ask only that you consider giving locally, where your gift is needed the most, and where it will have the greatest impact in people’s lives., where it will help the community of those affected by violence in Oakland heal, find hope, find heart. We thank you! DONATE HERE.
DID YOU KNOW? This year, on top of taking your standard deduction, you also may take
a deduction for cash contributions up to $300, so long as you donate that money by December 31. DONATE HERE