Reverend Dion Evans (above), hosts radio program. KGO TV’s Carolyn Tyler (right) interviews Evans, at (left) Post features Editor Carla Thomas stands in front of Espresso Gourmet Cafe that featured Grant “passover” posters. The same business was saved from damage by rioters by Post photographer Gene Hazzard while Post staff cars were burning in last year’s melee.
By Paul Cobb
Dion Evans, CEO of the Religazine Media Group (RMG) and Religion Editor for the Oakland Post, built an outdoor radio studio at 17th and Franklin Street to allow demonstrators an opportunity to react peacefully to the verdict of ex-BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle. He wanted to broadcast peace messages from “Ground Zero.”
Although mainstream media provided overwhelming coverage of the “rioting” and “looting” – a few covered the collaboration between Religazine Media Group, Western Christian Books and Café, the Post Newspaper and radio stations KDIA (AM1640), KDYA (AM1190) and KFAX (AM1100). This collaboration became known as the Ground Zero Collaboration for Peace.
Evans received a text message from David Jackson, Business Owner of Western Christian Books and Café (1618 Franklin Street, Oakland) which requested that he build his radio station outside the doors of his business. Jackson, in effort to reduce fear, named his business “Shiloh: A Place of Peace.”
Jackson said, “I see businesses all around me boarded up. It looks like a ghost town, but I am going to stay open to serve anyone walking by.” Evans then contacted Andy Santamaria, owner of the radio stations KDIA AM1640 and KDYA AM1190 who he persuaded to also allow live simultaneous broadcasting.
When the verdict in Los Angeles was announced several clergy members joined the broadcast. They included; Bishop Keith Clark, pastor of Word Assembly, Pastor Jerry Blackmon, First New Jerusalem and Pastor Martin Peters of Victory Baptist Church.
Radio personalities Antoine Miller, Co-Host of Issues After Dark and Senior Pastor of Chosen Vessels Christian Church, Alameda, along with Co-Hosts Charles Cole III and Brandan Richardson joined forces to help the 9-hour broadcast that was heard by more than 3 million on 13 stations in 9 states ..
In an interview with Amy Hollyfield, a reporter for ABC 7 News, Cole III said, “…It did not require that much effort, it just required people to get off the sidelines.”
Evans even persuaded some looters to surrender their stolen items.
Encouraged by their peacemaking, The RMG Team also plans to broadcast the results of a proposed demonstration in support of Mehserle to be held in Walnut Creek, Monday, July 19.
One minister said he doubted that the “so-called anarchists”, who used text-messaging and cell phones to urge property destruction and looting in Oakland, would “hijack the rally for the convicted Mehserle.”
The RMG Team will broadcast following the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle. Antoine Miller said, “The penalty has the potential of being an even bigger demonstration, especially if he serves less time in jail than Michael Vick did for dog fighting or Plaxico Burress served for accidentally shooting himself in a night club.”
For more information on Religazine Media Group – call – 1-877-475-4RMG or email Dion Evans at devans@RMGradio.org.