Media Coverage'S ARCHIVE

  • “We call it the slow dance,” said Kevin Grant, who heads the Oakland Street Outreach program. Recruited and led by Grant, three crews of five men patrol not just MacArthur Boulevard, but violent hot spots across East, Central and West Oakland. They go out Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, starting as early as 5 p.m. and often staying until 2 a.m. The “slow dance,” Grant said, is a gentle and gradual means of conversation by which he and his teams establish trusting relationships with gang members, drug dealers and others on the streets, trying to convince them to consider another path.

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  • Marilyn “Melina” Collins was strung out and desperate, a 98-pound skeleton of her former self. She was turning tricks to support her addiction and take care of her 4-year-old daughter, Messiah. She needed help but didn’t know where to turn. Then, one night last June, she saw men wearing white jackets standing on International Boulevard and 78th Avenue in East Oakland. One of them offered her a lifeline. She reached for it and hasn’t let go.

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  • It is often said that there are “two Oaklands,” and the city’s public education system is no exception to this divide. Some schools are largely attended by the middle class and affluent, and others by the poor and working class. The Interstate 580 freeway, which traces the city’s rolling foothills, provides a crude boundary. About 10 years ago, a group of mothers from the flatlands of East Oakland saw their children languishing in overcrowded, chaotic schools while their peers in the hills received a far different kind of education. Through Oakland Community Organizations, an alliance of community and religious leaders, those concerned mothers and thousands of others pushed for the creation of new, small schools – excellent schools, with innovative practices and high expectations – in their own neighborhoods.

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  • For the past few years a handful of outreach workers have hit the streets to try to transform their East Oakland community, empowering it by offering jobs and training and hope. The five members of the East Oakland Outreach team say they believe they have been able to halt some street killings.

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  • In the wake of last month’s slaying of four Oakland police officers by a parolee, pastors around Oakland spoke at vigils of the power of resurrection. They saw in the language of the church, the most powerful organizing force in many neighborhoods of need, a parable applicable to the most vulnerable and dangerous on the city’s streets. But the nature of the ministries that would need to accompany that vision is still largely in question. But today, as Christians honor the moment they believe Jesus rose from the dead, one answer may lie in the street ministry that is perhaps having the most pronounced effect on Oakland.

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  • Thousands of residents affected by homicide piled into the Oakland Convention Center on Thursday evening with one purpose in mind – to “Save Lives Now!” That was the theme of the citywide meeting, which attracted about 3,000 residents and faith leaders who called on city officials to help put an end to gun violence and the crime terrorizing their neighborhoods. They asked public officials to support and implement an intervention and prevention plan, known as the Oakland Strategy.

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