Day 2 of My Brother's Keeper event in Oakland touches on criminal justice, violence reduction

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- On the second day of the My Brothers' Keeper Rise event in Oakland, there was no scheduled appearance from former President Barack Obama. But Tuesday afternoon, Black Panther director and Oakland native Ryan Coogler is on the program. It continued at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.

The program began with uplifting music from a gospel choir to get everyone prepared for the serious topics to follow.

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Topic number one-- the criminal justice system. The first speaker, lecturer and author Shaka Senghor spent 19 years in prison, seven of them in solitary for murder. His goal now is to make sure other young men of color don't follow in those footsteps.

"Don't accept somebody else's narrative, because even though they told me I would be back in prison in six months, eight and a half years later, I'm standing here serving my people," he said.

Also on the agenda was a panel on successful violence reduction programs featuring Sam Vaughn of the Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety, and Assistant Chief Bisa French of the Richmond Police Department.

"What that success equates to in the city of Richmond is a 73-percent reduction in shootings relating to injury or death since we started our program," according to Vaughn.

"We don't have the ability to keep locking everybody up. We want to get people on the right path," said Assistant Chief French.

President Obama created the My Brother's Keeper program in 2014 as a way to get civic leaders, mayors, county leaders and tribal elders, involved in helping to close the opportunity gaps for young men of color.

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Former Pres. Barack Obama and Stephen Curry spoke during the MBK Rising event in Oakland on Tuesday.

Former New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz spoke Wednesday morning about how he's using his old Boys and Girls Club in Patterson, New Jersey to mentor and change lives.

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"I'm using my resources to get these kids out and see different things about the world and different ways to view the world."

According to University of the Pacific senior Gabriel Babaoye, the message is getting through.

"Despite the odds against us, despite everything that's been done to keep us down, we have to rise to the occasion and there's so much excellence within each and every one of us."
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