Warriors Host Silence The Violence Rally, Sponsored By Colliers International
Warriors Players, Staff Join Forces With Mayor Ron Dellums, Street Soldiers And More To Help Curtail Violence Among Bay Area Youth
On Monday, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Warriors President Robert Rowell and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums were on hand at a Silence the Violence Rally, presented by Colliers International, at Oakland Technical High School. Conducted in front of an energetic gathering mostly consisting of Tech freshmen and sophomores, the rally was the first of a series of upcoming steps to curtail violence in Oakland and the greater Bay Area.
“This program today is the beginning,” Rowell told the students at the rally. “We’re not just here to talk to you for an hour and a half and to give you tickets to our game. We’re here to keep you responsible and accountable. We’re going to be back, we’re going to talk to your taskforce and we’re going to talk about ways in which we can get you guys even more involved.”
Youth violence has become a serious problem in the Bay Area with crime and homicide rates reaching all-time highs in several low-income cities. By putting on such events as the Silence the Violence Rally, the Warriors, along with Colliers International, are taking a proactive approach to this social epidemic by working in schools and the community to show young people that there are ways to solve problematic issues without resorting to violence.
Dellums, Rowell, Jackson and Harrington were present at the rally to relay that message to the kids, and they were joined by Street Soldiers President Dr. Joseph Marshall, spoken word artist Prentice Powell, Warriors chaplin Earl Smith and former San Quentin inmate Brian Smith. Sporting a Silence the Violence T-shirt that was provided to everyone in attendance by Colliers International, CBS 5’s Kim Coyle emceed the event.
Among the themes constantly referenced throughout the rally was the importance of education, family and spirituality in keeping one grounded. By living a life dedicated to those values, the youth of today can better avoid the violence that has plagued the community, and only seems to be getting worse.
In order to avoid falling into that trap, Harrington said it all starts with the decisions one makes.
“The biggest thing is that you just have to take a second and stop and think about what you’re doing,” Harrington said. “The decision that you make, how’s it going to affect yourself, how’s it going to affect your life and how’s it going to affect the next person. It only takes five seconds.”
Harrington addressed the kids at the rally during a panel discussion with Jackson that was hosted by Dr. Marshall, who is also the founder to the Street Soldiers program that is dedicated to fighting violence nationwide. The panel, which followed opening remarks by Rowell and Mayor Dellums, discussed the obstacles they faced growing up and how a strong family structure and their Christian faith kept them from living a life of crime.
Growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, Jackson stayed at his grandmother’s house while his mother worked her 12-hour shifts. Being low on food and having to sleep on the floor, Jackson sometimes felt frustrated by life’s circumstances, but always knew there was light at the end of the tunnel.
“At times it might seem that the world is coming down on you and there’s no hope, but that’s not true,” Jackson said. “There were times when I thought it would never get better, but at the same time I kept my head up. I learned how to enjoy the bad times. When you learn how to enjoy the bad times, the good times become that much sweeter.”
Basketball proved to be an outlet for Harrington and Jackson to enjoy a fruitful life, and while not every kid will become a professional basketball player, Monday’s rally put forth several steps one could take toward attaining that same quality of life – one without violence.