Reflecting on Community Tragedy
Attending the community vigil for Tiansheng Yu, the victim of a day-time attack in downtown Oakland on April 16th, was both highly emotional and extremely uplifting.
The Yu incident was tragic and awful for all involved. But what inspired me was what I saw at the memorial on the same corner where Yu was fatally struck. As I walked up to the corner down Telegraph I thought to myself, “Wow, I wonder who I will see? What type of crowd? Will there be tension with my presence there as a young black man with dreadlocks’?”
When I arrived, Buddhist ceremonial chimes greeted me and a crowd ranging broadly in age, color, and background were standing silently in solidarity, together. Strangers were holding hands and all exhibited genuine respect for the Yu family and the ceremony. It was exactly what I know Oakland to be about. A city made up of real people who come together in the good times and the bad. A city that is tested time and time again and yet somehow goes back to the raw core of who it is every time it’s most needed.
At the vigil, people from all different races, ages, and religions came together in unity to remember the life of Tiansheng Yu and also shine a more promising brighter light on Oakland. I realized that I needed to ask myself and ask my friends of Oakland what we were going to do to bring lasting peace. The answer can’t and wont come from police officers or prosecutors; it won’t just come from elected officials or community groups and it won’t come from ONLY those in the flat lands or ONLY those in the hills. It will need to come from all of us. We all must re-invest, re-commit, and re-dedicate ourselves to the promise of peace and that peace will need to come from justice, opportunity, and cooperation from every level government to every community in Oakland.
Me? I rededicated myself to speaking with young people in Oakland. A week ago I spoke to youth at Frick Middle in Oakland with Brothers on the Rise to discuss the importance of community responsibility and leadership. I have also worked with the Ella Baker Center Soul of the City bi-monthly service projects in Oakland. There is something every one of us can do.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the family can send a check payable to The Yu Family Foundation, c/o Metropolitan Bank, 250 E. 18th St., Oakland, CA 94606.
Abel is the Media Relations Manager at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. He is a big brother, traveler, and loyal Golden State Warrior Fan.
Nov 14, 2012
Oct 02, 2012
Sep 18, 2012
Jul 20, 2012