Dozens march in Oakland against gun violence

Dozens of people and faith leaders gathered in Oakland Friday night for a march against gun violence.

They walked in solidarity, against the city's recent spike in violent crime.

Organizers said they want criminals to know they won't give up the fight to improve public safety.

They held a ceasefire night walk through the Fruitvale neighborhood to promote unity as Oakland confronts the latest surge in violence.

"We're tired of our community being hurt so much and also remembering that it's our people of color that are  getting affected by all of this violence the most," said organizer Alba Hernandez with Faith in Action, a social justice group that's behind the walk. . .

Members said one of the nonprofit's organizers, Hasani Bell, was shot and killed while getting his hair cut less than three months ago.  

"Knowing the victims of violence is a lot more disheartening," said Hernandez.

City Council member Noel Gallo shared with KTVU video he said he received from a resident.

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It shows an argument between two men, with one of them pulling out a gun.

Gallo said it's an example of how arguments often escalate into violence. "That's the reality of what we face here in East Oakland. It'll take all of us to come together. Demonstrate that we care. We're loyal to this city."

"We have many children without parents, wives without husbands," said one organizer as she addressed those participating in the walk.

The clergy of St. Elizabeth Parish said it takes a community response to solve the root causes of violence.

"Single mothers, single fathers don't have time to spend with the kids so the kids are learning from the streets," said Father Armando Lopez, associate pastor with St. Elizabeth Parish.  

One mother who lost her son to gun violence in 2003 said she's made it her life's work to fight violence by promoting  peace.

"Lend my voice and lend my feet to the night walks," Barbara LaFitte said it was difficult coping with the death of her then 22 year old son.

"What we have to do is get out and fight for our freedom and the freedom of the young people who are trapped because of all the disparities," said LaFitte. .

Moving forward, Faith in Action plans to hold community meetings to ask Oaklanders  what they want city leaders to do about improving public safety.