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Camilo Velazquez

Violence Interrupter

Camilo Velazquez was raised in Oakland since the 3rd grade. He went to Oakland Tech and graduated from Skyline in 2006. For as long as he could remember, art had been a huge thing in his life. Whether it was through skating or graffiti or tattooing, art was central to everything he did. It was through this passion for art that Camilo first learned about Youth ALIVE!: a fellow artist is married to one of our Violence Interrupters, and they met while collaborating on a mural.

Camilo knew immediately that the work was something that he wanted to get involved in and to help. Camilo first began as an ambassador, and now works as a school-based Violence Interrupter at Oakland High and Dewey.

About the work, Camilo reflects: “It feels like kid’s are getting caught up in something they don’t know anything about. For a while, it seemed like things were going good in the city, that kids were moving in a positive direction. Then the energy shifted.”

The things that make Camilo good at being a violence interrupter are many. He enjoys talking to people, playing devil’s advocate, and helping people see the other option. He does not pass judgement, and he is calm and warm-hearted.

“Violence only leads to bad results: more violence, jail time, but you got to help people see what they’re worth. I want people to know I’m here to help. Whatever I can do to help these kids out. Some people are born into a situation they didn’t choose, and a lot of these kids don’t have any hope. Those are the ones that I want to help the most.”

Headshot of Violence Interrupter Camilo Velazquez