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By Marisa Jolivette

I’ve lost a couple of friends due to gun violence. One of them that affects me a lot was I had a friend who went to my school, he graduated 2 years ago, and he lived on East 14th, and he was playing a dice game one day with some boys, and I didn’t find out he got killed until I got to school, but apparently it was said that they killed him over $2 and he tried to run from the gunshots and they found him on the elementary school hill, just dead. He was about to be 19 the day after his funeral.

Interviewer: What do you mean they killed him over $2? From what you heard, what was going on?

Well, when playing the dice game, it’s like you compete for money, so if you roll this, you’re given that money each time you roll the dice and I’m not sure if… it wasn’t that he didn’t have it or it was just they wanted $2 out of him, they just ended up killing him over $2.

Interviewer: What was his name?

His name was Trayvon (spelling?) Foster.

Interviewer: And how did you know him?

During my freshman year, me and some of my friends at school, we would…

When I found out, I was shocked about it. I actually didn’t believe it, because it’s hard to believe that the person that you least expect to get killed would get killed over $2. And it didn’t hit me emotionally until I got to the funeral and I saw his mom cry, but if affects me mentally, because it’s hard to trust people now. Trusting my surroundings or who I tell stuff to or who I’m hanging out with, cause you never know… they could be out to get you or they could do… I could be the person who ends up a target and you’re with them.

Recently, last week, there was about 20 gunshots outside the center, the EOYDC development center, and there was a police chase all the way down to 98th and I don’t know if they caught the person.

In the past month we had somebody at Walgreens… it was a silent gun, and he got shot and they dropped him off at Walgreens. He was bleeding everywhere when we were outside passing out flyers for the job fairs that we have here.

Then there have been murders this week around nighttime. Two teenagers from Castlemont were killed. There was a murder on Bancroft last week on Tuesday, and that’s about it.

A lot of people that I go to school with know the people who are killed and it affects them more. Socially, they don’t want to talk about it, or their anger builds up and they want to get revenge on the person who did it, so they try to retaliate back.

Usually I’ll watch the news, but I’ve gotten tired of all the murders that happen now. So it’s kind of like I’m watching the news to hear the same thing. Like a teenager was killed in Oakland, or a lady was shot, or just anybody who gets murdered now, so it’s like the same thing on news: the weather, traffic, then somebody gets killed or something.

For me, it affects me and the community because people die at the age of 16 and their parents bury them and it should be the other way around. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, but it bothers me to know that kids my age are getting killed over stuff that could easily be talked about, or something that was just irrelevant to kill somebody over and it kind of makes me mad that people think that they have the authority to take somebody’s life, like they have been given that power, and they’re not.

For me, I kind of don’t get over it. I’m just cautious of how… what’s going on around me, who’s around me. Traveling from San Lorenzo all the way here, it’s it’s hard, because it’s like I want to go to sleep but I know I can’t go asleep on the bus because I don’t want somebody to take my purse, or anything to happen. I’m just cautious about what I do, but I can’t forget. Like, I don’t forget the fact that there could be a shooting on the bus or some kid robbed on the bus, or something could happen. I just accept the fact and watch my surroundings as I go.


On her route to school:

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It’s exciting. I don’t walk to school and I don’t walk home from school. I catch a bus around the corner because walking is too much for me in the morning, because I have a lot of registered sex offenders in my neighborhood and they’re creepy, so I stay away from them.

So I catch a bus and if I miss the buss I catch another bus. It’s exciting but it’s boring. Sometimes a car will follow me to the bus stop, or my sisters.

I wouldn’t say they make me feel safe, but I’m used to it, so… some stuff happens sometimes.

Sometimes it happens in the morning before school and a lot of the times it happens after school.

I go to San Lorenzo, and I catch a bus that goes past different high schools, and different kids get on the bus from different high schools. It goes down east 14th all the way down and then that’s when the kids from Sal Leandro or Kip or Arroyo and stuff get on the bus.

This story and the entire Educational Voices series were made possible through the support of The California Endowment. Our student reporters for this series are participants in programs at The East Oakland Youth Development Center in East Oakland. Many thanks to the Endowment and the Center for the support of this program, and to our wonderful coaches, trainers and student reporters.

Follow the entire series here: http://oaklandlocal.com/?s=saferoutes

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