Faith leader urges Oaklanders to vote in new leadership to stop the violence

In the wake of a recent uptick in deadly crimes in Oakland, a faith leader held a rally Wednesday evening to urge people to take action.

Bishop Bob Jackson said major changes are needed to bring some peace to the community.

His message to Oaklanders---they can not give up on their city. He called on them to do their part to help stop the violence.

In East Oakland, organizers served food along with a prayer for a community coping with homicides and violent crime.  

"We pray for the young men out there committing violent crimes. We pray for the condition of the city," Jackson said. 

Native Oaklanders said the violence in their city is unprecedented.

"I'm very sad about it. It's embarrassing," Juanita Walker said. "I have to be careful when I go out.  You have to watch when you're pumping gas. You have to watch when you're pumping gas, when you go to the grocery store, when you're leaving the bank."  

Organizers are asking Oaklanders to be pro-active and vote in new leadership, as well as become engaged and work with police in stopping the violence.

"They can do it anonymously. They don't have to identify who they are. They can just say what they've seen," said Jackson. 
"If they saw something, tell police about it so we can get these people off the street."

Crime is taking a toll in various parts of Oakland.

At Jack London Square, the management at Scott's Seafood said there have been cancelations on weekends for the past six months, anywhere from 5 to 20.  

"Some people are afraid and it's regrettable.  We want to get as many people as possible," said manager Daniel Linhart, "As crime rises in Oakland, inevitably it's going to affect us."

The restaurant itself has been vandalized in recent months. One manager said a customer's car was broken into around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.   She said car burglaries happen nearby several times a week. She's been a victim.

"Last month, my car got broken into three times already. It's just a scary thing get out of work and the first thing you notice and see is someone broke into your car," said manager Martha Ferrel. "There are days that I do feel safe. Then there are days I don't feel safe at all."

Back at the community rally, Jackson said there is optimism and determination that Oakland will get through this and see better days,
"We can do something about it but we have to come together in order to do it."

He urged people to vet political candidates carefully and to vote next month. He said each person can make a difference.  

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU