Gun Violence in Oakland
For decades, the city of Oakland, California has ranked in the top ten most violent cities within the United States. Despite this, before 2020, Oakland had been experiencing consecutive, annual declines in gun violence thanks in large part to violence reduction programs.
By providing resources and support for those most at risk, Oakland was able to reduce homicides by 46% and shooting injuries by 49% from 2012-2017.
But in 2021, Oakland surpassed 100 homicides by September. This outpaced both 2020 and 2019 which had 66 and 52 homicides respectively, at the same point year-to-date. Like a number of other major cities in the U.S., Oakland is experiencing a gun violence crisis, while also still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As of October 2021, Oakland homicides have already surpassed 2020 totals and are up about 40% from 2019.
While community members point to a number of factors contributing to the violence — including the pandemic — one thing is clear, violence becomes more volatile when the needs of communities are not met.
In Oakland, Black residents make up only a quarter of the city’s population, but make up more than half of the city’s homicides. In fact, three out of four residents killed in Oakland are Black.
In June 2021, Oakland’s city council voted to allocate an additional $17.4 million to the city’s department of violence prevention, which has been chronically underfunded. But while these services are critical to the public safety of Oakland residents, so is stemming the flow of crime guns into the city. Brady’s Oakland Combating Crime Guns program works with community members and local organizations to educate the media, elected officials and the general public about the impact of irresponsible gun industry actors who prioritize profits, putting the safety of Oakland communities at risk.
THE IMPACT OF OAKLAND GUN VIOLENCE
The stories of gun violence survivors and family members of victims provide inspiration to advocates who continue to push for legislative and cultural change even in the face of obstacles.
In partnership with Youth Alive!, Brady brings you the stories of two mothers grappling with the loss of their sons — two mothers committed to creating a safer Oakland despite experiencing an unspeakable loss.
Deante Miller — aka Peek-a-Boo — was shot and killed November 28, 2016, along with his best friend Roderick Trayvon Godfrey. Peek-a-Boo was an avid athlete who wanted to be an architect before his life was cut short. Four years later in 2020, his brother Phillip was also shot in Oakland. While Phillip survived, he has since undergone five surgeries and is still in treatment.
Healing circles are created to acknowledge and address the trauma communities experience. For people who have grown up in neighborhoods with elevated levels of violence, a standard therapy session is not always the best approach, nor is it always accessible. By bringing therapy out of the clinic and into the community, organizations like Youth Alive! have been able to increase the number of people who actively participate in therapy-related services and get the support they need.
Davey McDaniel Jr. was one of 85 people killed in Oakland in 2016. Davey loved to dance, had a closeknit group of friends, and was always looking out for others. He had just turned 21 when his life was ended tragically by gun violence.
The Oakland Combating Crime Guns Initiative
Brady works with local, community-based gun violence prevention organizations in Oakland to build coalitions and work hand-in-hand with those most impacted by violence. Members of Brady’s Oakland Combating Crime Guns Initiative serve on the Violence Prevention Coalition and the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) grant program. The Initiative also works with local law enforcement and key stakeholders to ensure important information is released to the public, including a 2019 crime gun trace report critical to identifying irresponsible gun dealers, which was released in no small part, thanks to the advocacy of Brady and the Oakland Gun Tracing Group.
Brady's work in Oakland is part of our Combating Crime Guns Initiative, which works to reduce gun violence in impacted communities by stemming the flow of crime guns into those areas, while holding irresponsible gun industry actors accountable.
A crime gun is a gun that has been recovered by law enforcement after being used in a crime, suspected of being used in a crime, or the possession of the gun itself may have been a crime.
Youth ALIVE! believes that urban youth have the capacity to stop the violence plaguing our communities.
Since 1991, as mentors, youth leaders, counselors, case managers, intervention specialists and violence interrupters, Youth ALIVE! has worked to help violently wounded people heal themselves and their community. Their mission is to prevent violence and create young leaders. They believe that young people growing up and going to school in the city’s most violent neighborhoods, possess the power to change the city for the better. They meet their clients where they are, at home, in school, at the hospital bedsides of young shooting victims, on the streets of Oakland’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
The Youth ALIVE! frontline staff consists of people who grew up in the communities they serve. Some are former victims, some former gang members, and all are highly trained in the best practices of their profession. They bring not judgement, but only understanding, knowledge, and a path to greater peace for traumatized individuals and the city.
King David Respect for Life Inc.
King David Respect for Life works to realign the lives of at risk youth that have been affected by gun violence.
King David Respect for Life is a non-profit created by founder Jasmine Hardison who lost her only child when he was 21 years old. David McDaniel Jr., was tragically killed in Oakland, CA., after returning to a friend’s house from a date. A car pulled alongside of him as he was parking and opened fire, striking David once in the neck. David was transported to the hospital where he unfortunately passed away due to his injuries.
King David Respect for Life provides crisis response and support to families after a homicide occurs. That grief support consists of home visits, healing circles, community gun violence awareness events, and referrals to other therapeutic services.