Warriors players and coaches hear directly about community violence intervention efforts, commit to supporting continued success
March 6, 2020 — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords; Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors; Oakland officials including Mayor Libby Schaaf; leaders from the City of Oakland Department of Violence Prevention; Faith in Action and LIVE FREE USA; and other local advocates and experts came together to highlight the successes of Oakland’s violence reduction strategies through a Peace Walk and town hall demonstrating their support of Oakland’s transformative community-based efforts to reduce gun violence.
“The Golden State Warriors mean so much to Oakland and they are invested in what happens here,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “It was inspiring to join them to hear powerful stories from community members. Every single day, advocates and leaders are reducing gun violence and making a meaningful difference in people’s lives. The Warriors’ support of these efforts to make Oakland’s neighborhoods safer will undoubtedly drive even greater success. Cities across the country should look to Oakland for how to bring hope to families who need it.”
The Peace Walk followed a dynamic dialogue between former Congresswoman Giffords, the Golden State Warriors, Giffords Law Center experts, and local survivors and advocates on community violence reduction efforts in Oakland. Rev. Michael McBride of LIVE FREE USA, a key leader in Oakland’s efforts, oversaw the intimate discussion focusing on the approaches proven to work and outlining how Warriors players and coaches could engage in these efforts.
“Gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color, and Oakland is no exception,” said Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. “Today, Steph, Clay, and I had the chance to meet powerful local leaders who took action and found solutions that have saved so many lives. We are lucky to be a part of the Oakland community and are committed to supporting these dedicated leaders in any way we can.”
A town hall at Allen Temple Baptist Church immediately followed the Peace Walk. Moderated by Giffords Law Center Executive Director Robyn Thomas, Coach Kerr, Pastor Michael McBride, Oakland-based violence reduction practitioner Reygan Cunningham, and Chief of the City of Oakland Department of Violence Prevention Guillermo Cespedes discussed the successes of Oakland’s violence reduction efforts and how these best practices can be replicated elsewhere.
“We are saving lives in Oakland with faith and with action. Our faith gives us the strength needed to demand an end to gun violence in our community, and show individuals who need a hand a better way, said Pastor Michael McBride. “We are succeeding. What we have accomplished is not a miracle though; it’s the result of implementing proven solutions, hard work, and taking the time to connect with those most in need. We’re grateful to show the Golden State Warriors what we have accomplished by coming together.”
Giffords Law Center studied Oakland’s successes in a report, A Case Study in Hope: Lessons From Oakland’s Remarkable Reduction in Gun Violence. The report was published in collaboration with Faith in Action and the Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium. Since 2012, Oakland has cut its annual shootings and homicides nearly in half. In 2018, Oakland recorded its lowest number of homicides in almost two decades. This stands in direct contrast to many other major American cities that saw an increase in gun violence after 2012.
“Oakland is a model for what other cities can do to reduce gun violence and save lives. We are proud to continue lifting up the work local advocates are doing to empower communities and prevent violence,” said Robyn Thomas, Executive Director at Giffords Law Center. “By dedicating resources to this epidemic, we can tackle the day-to-day violence in underserved neighborhoods and turn sorrow into hope. California has already invested millions to combat gun violence through the CalVIP program, and we’re hopeful the state sees what is happening in places like Oakland and commits to quadrupling their commitment.”