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Peace march draws up to 1,000 to church, civic center

on March 6, 2010

Police estimated that 700 to 1,000 people took the streets today in peaceful activism.

The target: local violence that has claimed at least 54 lives since Jan. 1, 2009, and jolted the city Feb. 14 when three youths opened fire in a local church.

Today’s demonstrations began at 11 a.m., with seven minutes of simultaneous prayer at 210 street corners throughout the city.

Later, residents and local church and civic leaders converged on the Civic Center, where speakers, music and social service vendors were on hand.

From there, police cordoned off roadways for the marchers, as up to 1,000 walked from the Civic Center, across 23rd Street, and to New Gethsemane church at the corner of 21st Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

“It was a rainbow out there today,” said Rev. Andre Shumake, one of the organizers. “It was reflective of what Richmond is, and it planted a seed that we will continue to nurture.”

In a gesture to symbolize solidarity against violence and nonviolent protection of a house of worship, the demonstrators then linked hands, creating a human circle around one square block surrounding the church.

Civic leaders including Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Council members Maria Viramontes, Nat Bates and Jeff Ritterman participated.

“I think people from all over the Bay Area came to make a statement and to say no we won’t be silent, we are going to stand up, we are going to make this known,” said Bishop J.W. Macklin, one of the leaders of the two-week schedule of peace events that has drawn support from more than 80 area churches. “That there is one voice, one hope, one city and we are going to make this work.”


  1. debra collier on March 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Thank God!Prayer changes things. Now we should be able to see why we need to put prayer back into our schools. When we remove God from the element evil can and will dominate. We can Push back boundaries through prayer, draw lines in the sand through prayer.

  2. A Richmondite on March 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm


  3. Mike Ali Raccoon Eyes Kinney on March 7, 2010 at 12:21 am


    By: Mike (Ali) Raccoon Eyes Kinney

    As a Cherokee Native American Activist and a former member of the Richmond California Violence Prevention Movement, I have seen close to 515 homicides in the City of Richmond from 2001 to the present.

    The declaration of a ‘war on violence’ by the Richmond city government was not the panacea, instead it failed miserably.

    I have often stated in town hall meetings and on television, the best way to win the ‘war on violence’ in Richmond is to ‘TEACH THE VALUES OF PEACE’.

    In the killing fields of Richmond, most of the victims of homicides are youth or young adults. Teaching the values of peace begins with our youth and young adults. From a Native perspective, winning the war on violence begins in the home with a strong, spiritual belief and value system.

    We believe that Creator made all generations, past, present and those of the future, holy people. This is what our Elders teach us from the time we are born.

    Our families and Elders teach our young people that they must tear away the images and stereotypes that mainstream society has placed upon them as Native peoples.

    Violence and killing is not traditional in Native culture, it is a learned behavior from mainstream society.

    We teach our youths not to attack, punish or beat themselves up for crimes that they have never committed in regards to racism. Our Elders and families teach our young people to have good self-esteem, self-worth and self-value, for as the original holy people this was Creators plan.

    Native people know that it is both family and community responsibility to teach the values of peace to our young people.

    We teach our young people honesty and accountability concerning violence. It begins with accepting responsibility for self and acknowledging any past use of violence.

    Admitting any wrongdoing, communicating openly and truthfully to renounce the use of violence in the future places our youth on the right path. We place a heavy emphasis that all life is sacred.

    The final lesson in teaching the values of peace is quite simple. It is helping young people understand their relationship to others and all things in Creation.

    Be responsible for your role, act with compassion and respect, and remember ALL LIFE IS SACRED. Native culture is prevention!

    Mike (Ali) Raccoon Eyes Kinney

  4. B. Cayenne Bird on March 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

    The problems in our society are coming from too much poverty and special interests who occupy our legislature. If the poor all voted, we would have NONE of our current lawmakers in power. There are 7 million people who need to be registered in California so we can get the special interests out of power. 20 register 20 register 20 to vote as “decline-to-state” voters so that you can get all the ballots.
    Great work Rev. Shumake.

  5. B. Cayenne Bird on March 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    This is a great book, well worth reading. Comments here are great too.

    Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse (Studies in Crime and Public Policy) (Paperback)
    ~Prof Todd R Clear

  6. Rev. Harry Williams on March 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I have seen the answer to many a prayer uttered by Richmond believers. In fact, I stood next to him at yesterday’s rally. He is a young hip hop preacher named Minister Mustapha. A one time Richmond gang banger, he has taken the gospel to places many fear to tread. He is charismatic and anointed but he was given true leadership role in yesterday’s march. Preachers if we really want to reach the community, we have to bring Minister Mustapha to the table. Three young black boys with goodies ran into that church shooting. Who would their friends be more prone to listen to; a middle aged preacher in a button down suit or a Christian hip hop preacher in a baseball cap and Air Jordans? Pastors it is time to bring Minister Mustapha of Turf Ministries to the table.

  7. Robert Rogers on March 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    I want to thank everyone for reading and sharing their comments.

    Richmond Confidential continues to grow in readership and range of issues.

    Thank you,

  8. Cochise Potts on March 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    The message the Lord God, has given me to give to our elected officials department heads and citizens of Richmond. This city even this whole nation has strayed away from his decree and commandments. We’ve pledge your allegiance to flags and other false idols and not to the cross on which his only begotten son sacrificed his life for our sake so that we may be redeemed unto him. We pledge your allegiance for one nation under God but our hearts are far, far from him. We’ve taken prayer out of our schools and open our public meeting with a pledge of allegiance to a flag instead of opening with a prayer asking for God’s wisdom to resolve the societal ill of this city and country. Return to me America and I will return to you. I will forgive you of your sins heal and prosper this land which I gave to your fathers before you. To those who have an ear hear my words and obey my commandments this day. For the dead in Christ Jesus let them bury their own.
    C. Potts

  9. Lop on March 12, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Linda Newton

    I am very impressed with the faith community of Richmond for taking a visible lead in bringing civility back to the City of Richmond. In the article it stated that a rainbow of people participated in the 7 minutes of prayer and the gathering at the City Hall. Knowing Richmond’s reputation, new people who have chosen to live in Richmond because they believe in the rainbow ideals and want to live with people of all races. Nonetheless, they did not choose to live with violence and young people killing themselves and innocent bystanders.

    We have a rich Black culture here that can enrich all of us. Still we are denied it because of the violence and the fear, real and imagined, of going into some neighborhoods. Most of the Bay Area sidesteps the whole city because of the violence and makes us all the poorer.

    What I am most concerned about is the segregation that results. Not knowing each other, not shopping together, not being part of each others’ lives breeds distrust, dislike, and lack of cooperation in dealing with citywide issues of jobs, the environment, casinos, toxins, etc.

    Perhaps now we have a chance to become a community due to the faith community.

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