Posted on March 2, 2010
Group Demands End to Violence
Panelists fed up, say ‘enough is enough’
Camagong, associate editor
As violence continues to rear its ugly head within
the city of Richmond, some in the community are fed up and
putting their foot down, crying out that enough is enough.
The ASU hosted a Fireside Chat, titled “Richmond Church Shooting:
Enough is Enough,” in the Fireside Room on Feb. 23 to discuss
individual and organizational efforts for violence prevention
in response to the brutality emerging in the community.
“It takes a community to show that the consciousness of Richmond
is a consciousness of peace,” Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said in
a speech at the event. [emphasis added]
After the discussion, a tree was planted in the campus Peace
Grove in memory of Kyle Bratton, a Contra Costa College student
who was shot and killed on Dec. 14 in Richmond.
“(The event) was building a bridge with the community and
trying to help come to a solution on trying to help the community
stop the violence,” ASU President Kristina Bautista said.
Various attendants were present, including guest panelists
McLaughlin, Student Life Director Jennifer Ounjian, Richmond
City Councilman Nat Bates, early childhood education department
Chairwoman Intisar Shareef and Richmond Improvement Association
President Andre Shumake Sr. [emphasis added]
The chat, organized by Student Life Center Event Coordinator
Henry Parker, touched upon seeking organizations to better
unify the community.
“If we all do something, then we can turn this cycle of violence
around,” sociology department Chairman J. Vern Cromartie said.
Outreach programs and support services available throughout
the city as well as on the college campus were brought to light,
showing more ways to become civically involved.
At the panel, Ounjian voiced the benefits of participating
in campus services such as the Puente Program, Center for Science
Excellence, Black Student Union and campus counseling sessions
to better provide students a sense of support and purpose.
Cromartie said, “The time has come for us to link these programs
at the college to people in the community who are vulnerable.”
With representatives from different agencies such as the Richmond
Youth Student Empowerment (RYSE) Center and the Richmond Youth
Academy in the room, attendants were also present to introduce
local support groups readily available to help.
Olajuwon Thornton, entertainment director for the Bay Area
Stop Hating Movement, spoke about how the Richmond Youth Academy
(RYA) aims to teach young adults the pathways toward community
service, self-discipline and academic achievement.
“(Youth) want the help and they want the love,” Thornton said.
“(We’ve got to) show them there’s more to life than just standing
in the corner and that (they) can achieve this (if they) just
go for it.”
He also discussed the importance of people stepping outside
of their environment as a means of building better character.
Parker said, “People have to get outside their safety and
comfort zone, and (they) have to get out and really get involved.”
On top of seeking involvement and participation within the
community to stop violence, the seminar touched bases with
the preventative measure of conditioning oneself by way of
changing behavior and undergoing grief counseling.
Dr. Shareef stressed the importance of stopping violence within
the household, encouraging a change in monitoring one’s thoughts
to produce positive feelings.
Parker said, “A lot of people see (violence) in their homes
and (when they) don’t see a person calming down, (it consequently)
goes from bad to worse in an instant.”
Rev. Shumake agreed, adding that grief counseling will allow
community members to learn ways to deal with anger and rage,
two factors leading to territorial and regional violence in
Cromartie said, “You may not be the change in the world, but
you can change yourself.”
Parker said the plans to organize the seminar branched from
two recent shootings occurring in Richmond, one of which resulted
in the death of a pregnant woman shot in her car while in the
Iron Triangle neighborhood on Feb. 10.
The second occurrence, which the seminar was named after,
happened on Feb. 14 after three men opened fire during a service
at the New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ.
“We live in a very violent society,” Cromartie said. “(We
could) turn this around by helping people discover their true
A follow-up chat about violence in relationships will be held
today in the Fireside Room from 12:30-2 p.m., Parker said.
“(It’s good to) get youths early in order to plan out better
futures for them,” Richmond Police Commissioner volunteer Glenn
Stephenson said. “It’s important that even though not everyone
came, that they can spread (this information) to those that
Contact Asia Camagong at firstname.lastname@example.org