OAKLAND, Calif. --In response to the constant crime plaguing their neighborhoods, fed up residents, church members, and city leaders marched for peace Saturday. During the march and rally, which ended at 91st Avenue, people prayed and reaffirmed their commitment to make Oakland a safer place to live.
The group, 100 strong, marched down International Boulevard, demanding change come to Oakland. Pastors from several Oakland churches led the march, chanting, "We're about to take back our city, we're about to take back our community."Four people were shot Friday night during three different incidents. One was in a Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot on MacArthur Boulevard. And last week, 10 more people were shot, including three children. "No one wants this to happen to their children," parent Quovadis Estell said. Estell said she marched not just for her children, but for all children in the Oakland, "Our youth, I don't know what's wrong when you have nothing else. You do have to pray." The group sang, prayed, and talked about the city's real problems and some real solutions, "What I really think is for African American males need to step up and take their kids off the streets and don't be afraid of their kids," said Shakir Zaid, uncle of an Oakland murder victim. March organizers are also holding city leaders accountable. They asked Mayor Jean Quan for more youth programs, and more of a partnership with law enforcement, "We're saying, we're stepping out of the doors and we want Mayor Quan to say, what do you need us to do so we can do that and make it happen," organizer Darcy Davis said. Mayor Quan answered, saying, "I've been reaching out to churches this summer to join and adopt some of these young people in Cease Fire programs starting next month." Cease Fire is a guidance program for teens who've been incarcerated. But for some young people in Oakland, they say there's only one solution -- to move. Event organizers are trying to bring pride back to Oakland residents. That's why they plan to hold more marches and have a "Clean Up Oakland" day where volunteers will pick up trash on International Boulevard.