Twenty members of Oakland’s clergy held a press conference Thursday in response to violence in the city and the recent shooting of 8-year old Alaysha Carradine, who was killed while at a friend’s sleepover on Wednesday.
Two other children and their grandmother were also injured in the shooting.
Faith leaders – including Bishop Frank Pinkard, Pastor Marty Peters, Pastor Brondon Reems, and others – joined in solidarity to express their outrage and concerns for safety in the community.
“We demand protection for our community,” said Pastor Zac Carey. “This is a state of emergency. You have grandmothers being shot, 8-year olds being murdered, and other kids being shot, where they’re not even safe in their own homes.”
“Clergy just can’t stand by silent; we need our voices to be heard and we need the community to come and stand with us to address this violence, “ he said. “Every community member has to be outraged and say enough is enough.”
With constant protests in response to the Zimmerman verdict, clergy were disappointed that the community did not show the same outrage with the tragedy of Wednesday’s shooting.
“I would like to see the same outrage for what happened [that night] as well…Where’s the outrage, where’s the protest?” Asked Pastor George Matthews.
As a sacred place for people seeking comfort and answers, the church is going to put its arms around the community, Bishop Bob Jackson said.
“We plan to be more visible than what we’ve been, reach out more to the community and do everything to support and to comfort the community, but also to provide some type of leadership,” Jackson said.
“We have been guilty of being in our churches; but the Lord is blessing us now to open up the doors of the church and begin to work in the community like we’ve never done before.”
“That’s going to be a part of the abatement process for the violence that you see in front of you.”
Alaysha Carradine was at the sleepover with the other children and their grandmother in the Dimond District neighborhood when gunfire struck the apartment’s front security screen door, killing Carradine and wounding everyone else in the room.
No suspects have been arrested, and police don not have a motive for the attack. The child’s death is Oakland’s 54th homicide of the year.