Oakland events promote an end to gun violence

On Friday night, there were various community events in Oakland designed to promote stopping gun violence.

Organizers said these gatherings won't solve the problem, but they are part of an overall plan that takes time and patience to work.

In East Oakland, drivers honked their horns in support of faith leaders and community members participated in a march.

"Everybody thinks it's a one hit wonder," said Damita Davis-Howard with Faith in Action and Oakland Ceasefire, "These walks are just one of the pieces of the overall strategy of ceasefire."

Organizers hoped persistence in messaging will yield results. 

The walk is a representation of the behind the scenes and outreach work being done. It's a partnership that includes nonprofits, the police department and community members.  

"Talking directly to the community and those who might be victims of and or perpetrators of gun violence," said Davis-Howard. 

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At the same time, there was another component of this citywide strategy to fight gun violence at Arroyo Viejo Park. It's called "Town Nights" at 8 different parks.

Organizers said this event is designed to bring the community together. 

"If these things happen more often, people will understand that violence will not lead you to anywhere," said Jesus Chavez, the father of two who attended the event.  

He said he and his daughter each had a close call: two separate incidents of being caught in the cross fire of people shooting at each other. Fortunately, they were not hurt 

"Gunfire, you really worry about that," said Chavez.  

These events are a partnership between Oakland Department of Violence Prevention and nonprofits.

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"Community engagement is a critical part of slowing down violence," Guillermo Cespedes, chief of Oakland Department of Violence, said these events are only one component  of a comprehensive  strategy. 

"Conversations that take place before, during and after about people who have issues with each other, figuring out ways to talk it through," said Cespedes.  

Chavez said he supports these events, but that there's just too much gun violence, "It makes me want to leave from here and look elsewhere." 

He said he and his family plan to move to Sacramento. 

Oakland Ceasefire organizers said they will hold their next march on July 22. 

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on facebook @AmberKTVU,  instagram @AmberKTVU  or twitter @AmberKTVU