Street fair planned for community healing: Event inspired by shooting death of Desiree Davis
on October 7, 2009
Flowers and photographs mark the corner of 54th and Gaskill Streets in Northwest Oakland, a reminder of a Labor Day shooting that claimed the life of Desiree Davis, an ambitious high school senior.
Yet at a street fair planned for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, members of a neighborhood church plan to transform that same place of loss into a site of community healing.
Minister Lorenzo Franklin of Humanity Baptist Church said health screenings, basketball and children’s crafts are just a few of the activities planned for the event, designed to promote peace and compassion in the neighborhood.
“We’re using it as a platform of love to reach out to the community,” said Franklin, a key organizer of the event.
Franklin, who presided over Davis’s funeral, has a connection to the 17-year-old’s death that transcends his role as a community minister. On Labor Day, he was visiting friends not far from where she was shot, and tried to help her after shots rang out.
Franklin believes that Davis, a yearbook editor who had plans of becoming a veterinarian after graduating from Oakland Technical High School, did not die in vain. Her death can inspire people to take an active role in their communities and stop street violence, he said. “In my opinion it’s God’s way of saying, ‘it’s time to get busy,’” Franklin said at a Humanity Baptist Church service last Sunday.
Rev. George Anderson, the pastor of Humanity Baptist Church, said the street fair will provide a good opportunity for church members and faith leaders to turn spiritual teaching into action. All too often, he said, messages of compassion never leave the church sanctuary. He added that Oakland residents need to remember that even small acts of community service can help transform cities.
“You can’t take a whole city but you can do it a block at a time,” Anderson said. “The church has got to come out of its four walls.”
Residents who would like to get involved with Saturday’s street fair can contact Latina Perry at (510) 435-7353.
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