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Ropes of Hope seeks to turn the violent tide on Oakland streets one jump at a time

Ropes of Hope turn throughout the night in Oakland
Ropes of Hope turn throughout the night in Oakland 03:50

OAKLAND -- Night after night reports of the growing tide of violent crime in Oakland fill the airways, but two local women are using two ropes to bring hope and turn their community into a better place.

On the corner of Telegraph & 18th, right in the middle of the busy bars and crowded clubs, there is another party going on.  All it serves is just two ropes and hope.  While some of these jumpers are quite skilled, others are jumping in for the first time. 

They call themselves "Jump Squad 510."  It is a new crew, created in just the last year by Ariel Loudd.  

"That was something that we did growing up and we lost that sport here in Oakland," Loudd explained.  "And I was trying to bring it back. And when we bring it back, let's bring it back in a very meaningful way by building culture around it."

Some of the squad's principles for existing have nothing to do with jumping rope but touch on a more serious tone.

"I am here to help de-escalate issues, aggression, violence, alcoholism," Loudd said. "It is reducing the drugs that are in their system. And I stand by that. It is nothing we can do to stop people from doing what they do."

Loudd knows she can't stop anyone from drinking too much and doing drugs.  But she did find a way to try to tame the side effects for some people before it is too late.  

"We so busy criticizing them for what they do, instead of really finding a legit way to like help them in that moment," Loudd said.  "I don't want to see you in jail when I can prevent that by you probably jump roping for a couple of hours and you kind of sober up instead of driving, or creating harm."

Maliaka Hill has been double ditching with Loudd since they were little girls, right here in Oakland just a few blocks away.

 "The positive impact that it is having on our youth, on our community, on the adults around us, you know, and what we put out into the Earth," says Hill.  "And it's definitely a lot of fun."

Eight months ago, Jump Squad started going out to Lake Merritt and performing at different community events and even elementary schools.  But, every single Friday and Saturday, Loudd and Hill turn these ropes all through the night in downtown Oakland.  

"Why not at the club," explains Hill.  "It sobers you up, it's such positivity, it is so many people cheering for you. You feel good after you jump out the ropes, because it's like dang, you have got a little Double Dutch family over here."

Finding a sense of family with strangers on the street, sharing their childhood joy of simply jumping rope. 

Some people even put down their drinks and picked up some new tricks.

"When she got here, she was trying to do her pop ups up and down," Loudd explains about teaching a by passer how to jump stronger.  "Now she got it and she is happy and having a good time. That's what it is all about."

Spending a few hours with Jump Squad 510, you can easily see the connection and the positivity.

"Everyone is helping each other out right now, listen, they are helping each other," Loudd said.  "You are building full-body coordination. Networking with people and accomplishing goals you never thought you could."

For more: Intstagram: @jumpsquad510 or TikTok: @jumpsquad510

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