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At St. Columba Church, Oaklanders honor this year’s 102 victims of homicide

on November 21, 2011

Oakland residents gathered outside St. Columba Catholic Church in the Golden Gate neighborhood on Friday to honor the 102 people who have died because of violence in the past year. Clergy  from Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), a faith-based organization that works toward building safer communities in the city, planned the event in response to the city’s 100th murder, which occurred earlier this month.

Despite the cold, rainy weather, about 30 people surrounded the dozens of crosses planted in front of the church that represent the victims of homicide. People of all faiths prayed together for an end to violence and homicides in Oakland, and called on Mayor Jean Quan to do more to keep the city safe. A group of children dressed in karate outfits filed in shortly before the ceremony started, performed a choreographed dance, and asked the audience to follow their lead in punching the air 100 times—one punch for every victim.

The candlelight vigil was one of several events the OCO has planned to help combat violence in Oakland. The organization is calling on the public to participate in a walk for peace, and to support a reduction in gun violence, on December 9 that will start at 5 pm on 65th Street and International Boulevard and end at Greenleaf Elementary School an hour later.

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