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Residents in Oakland's Laurel District plan community outreach to curb violence after woman killed in her home

Oakland residents plan to unite against violence, take back their neighborhood
Oakland residents plan to unite against violence, take back their neighborhood 03:29

OAKLAND — Residents in Oakland's Laurel District came together to combat the violence plaguing their community after a mother of two was killed by a stray bullet.

In a gathering that none of them ever wished to attend, they voiced their determination not to let violence overtake their neighborhood.

Chaz Walker, a longtime resident of the Laurel District, spoke passionately about the need for action.

UPDATE: 2 arrested in connection with woman killed by stray bullet in Oakland's Laurel District

"My friend's wife is dead. Oakland has been grappling with violence issues, but in the Laurel, we were somewhat insulated because we're a tight-knit community. Regardless of your race or economic status, we all work together around here," said Walker.

Walker has lived in the Laurel District for over two decades, residing just a few feet away from the house where the tragic incident occurred on Friday night.

"We need to set an example for the rest of the city. We need to show how we can come together, support the grieving family, but also understand that it's not enough. We must pool our resources and create the conditions to prevent such tragedies from happening," he explained.

To realize this vision, Walker plans to leverage his organization, 'Oba Dogon,' which is focused on providing educational support services for students, teachers, and parents. He's joined in this endeavor by his neighbors, Danielle Smith and Monica Hoskins, who share his commitment to making their neighborhood safer.

Smith expressed her faith in the community's potential to heal and grow. She extended her heartfelt condolences to the grieving family, emphasizing the lasting pain that gun violence inflicts.

They shared the personal trauma that motivates her to take action. Smith, too, lost a child to gun violence, and Hoskins has two children, aged 7 and 17.

 "It really hit home when I saw a mother of two. I couldn't help but think that it could've been me," Hoskins said.

Working together, a plan is taking shape to utilize available resources and engage with the youth in the area. They're determined not to wait for authorities to respond but to initiate change themselves.

Chaz Walker summed up their grassroots approach by saying, "You've got the scholars and the politicians, but I'm just a neighbor who's willing to join hands with my fellow neighbors and do what we can to get something done."

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