Faith Leaders Join Together in Fight Against Crime

Over 25 clergy spoke out in solidarity in an effort to stop crime in Oakland. Pictured, clockwise from top left: Pastor Gerald Agee (Friendship Christian Center); Pastor Lawrence VanHook (Community Christian Church); Dr. George Cummings (Imani Community Church) of OCO; George Holland, President of the NAACP Oakland Chapter; Bishop J.E. Watkins (Jack London Square Chapel); Pastor VanHook; Lynette McElhaney, District 3 candidate; and Bishop Bob Jackson (Acts Full Gospel Church).Photos by Ashley Chambers and collage by Adam L. Turner.

By Ashley Chambers In the wake of more than 100 homicides this year and a community that is still reeling from the foreclosure crisis, some Oakland faith leaders spoke out at a press conference Tuesday, Oct. 30 in West Oakland. Over 25 East and West Oakland clergy joined together to speak out against the violence that has plagued this city. “Oakland is in crisis, and the community has been ignored. It is time for a change,” said Pastor Lawrence Van Hook, senior pastor of Community Christian Church for Christ and president of the Bay Area Action Council. Clergy said they are making a collective effort to fight crime in the city and restore peace, including weekly night walks with Measure Y, the city’s Violence Prevention and Public Safety Act. “We are uniting West Oakland and East Oakland to come together for the shalom of this city,” said Bishop Bob Jackson, senior pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland. George Holland, president of the NAACP Oakland chapter, expressed his support saying, “We’re always going to be behind our clergy.” Speaking at the press conference, City Council District 3 candidate Lynette McElhaney said, “Ceasefire in Oakland is a priority…None of us are safe until all of us are safe.” Clergy announced their endorsement of McElhaney for District 3 at the press conference. “I’m honored to have the support of the clergy in championing this cause,” she said. Also at the press conference were Pastors of Oakland, Baptist Ministers Union, the Interdenominational Ministers Alliance and Bay Cities Baptist Minister Union.

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