By: Ricardo Sevilla, Senior
Ever since I came to Oakland, I have heard that it’s known for all its violence. There are many families in our communities who, like mine, have migrated to this country for a better life. Yet, in their effort to find that life, they’ve encountered gangs, drugs, and many other factors that have led to violence. Unfortunately a great number of youth are pulled by those factors, and they forget about all that their elders have done for them to be here. I myself have felt pulled by those factors and into a wrong path; I feel very fortunate to be at Life Academy and be a member of BAM because I have changed into a better person thanks to those around me.
When I reflect on these things, I start feeling very grateful because I honestly feel that I would have become another contributor to the violence if I had been in another school, which is why I decided to support the Season of Peace Building.
I have always gone to meetings regarding the violence in Oakland. In the last one I went to, I noticed how a lot of people in Oakland talk about all the violence yet after those meetings there aren’t any further actions taken and everyone seems to somehow forget about all the impact that violence causes.
Coincidently a couple of weeks later we came up with the idea of the Season of Peace-Building, and Julio (my BAM coach) told us about how this would show everyone how our communities need to take action. I showed my support to this idea by agreeing to fast and to get signatures on our pledge.
I have seen other fasters before me, and I have seen many of them get criticized for fasting. There are many who criticize, but I know that there are a lot more who support us and want to help us build peace. I felt very much supported by everyone during my fast. The only hard part about fasting was the first couple of hours because I almost forgot that I was fasting and went to get a snack. Luckily, someone reminded me I was fasting. The rest of the fast went pretty well.
I reflected on the statement, “I pledge to not disrespect my community by trashing our environment” from the Peace Pledge during my fast. It’s quite noticeable that the neighborhoods in which most violence occurs tend to be the most trashed. Our carelessness or laziness has brought us to destroy the places we live in instead of beautifying them. Having this statement in our pledge is really important because having people sign this will make them commit to keeping their neighborhoods clean and make them reflect on how important having clean streets will help us have more secure and peaceful neighborhoods.
Edited By: Eva Oliver, RAW Co-Coach