By Xiomara Castro

On November 12th youth and community members packed the Oakland City Council Chambers to speak-out about City Council

City Council Member Noel Gallo

City Council Member Noel Gallo

Member Noel Gallo’s proposal for a city-wide youth curfew. The proposed youth curfew would have restricted teens under the age of 18 from being outside, in a car, or in a place of business during school hours and between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless accompanied by an adult. The proposal stated that if youth were found in violation they would face community service, revocation of their driver’s licenses, or even jail time.

Youth from Urban Peace Movement, BAY-Peace (Better Alternatives for Youth), CURJY, 67 Suenos, and other organizations were excited to attend the meeting and have their voices heard.

For Urban Peace Movement and BAY-Peace, the process of learning about the Curfew proposal started a couple of weeks prior. The youth started with research and discussion about youth curfews, their effectiveness, and the reasons policy makers tend to lean on such measures. During the discussions youth learned about some of the major flaws of Youth Curfew policies: Youth Curfews don’t work, they don’t target real crime, they destabilize families, they strain youth and police relations, and they have a high potential to be implemented unfairly.

The research process continued when our friends at BAY-Peace set up an informational session with Council Member Noel Gallo himself before the proposal went to committee in order to learn more about his motivations for an Oakland youth curfew policy.

The overwhelming majority of youth left the meeting with Mr. Gallo feeling like the proposal would be a bad move for our city. Several young leaders from Urban Peace Movement and BAY-Peace came together on November 12th to share their ideas and sentiments at Open Forum that evening. Giovonni Gaines, Peace Ambassador for Urban Peace Movement took the mic confidently and had the following to say about his experience:

“Speaking in front of the city council for the first time was difficult. As a senior in high school and not familiar with public speaking, I thought I was going to choke on my words. I believe the part that made me nervous was the people there, the cameras, and the spotlight. Thanks to Xiomara and Nicole (Urban Peace Movement staff) for giving me motivation to get up there and speak my mind. This experience has changed a major part of my life. “

Among a raucous crowd that night, the steady voices of Oakland youth shined through. They are the very young people who could have been targeted by a youth curfew arrest or fee for going about their legitimate business. Many youth expressed that where we should put our resources as a city is into balanced, holistic strategies like job creation, street outreach, youth drop-in centers, and youth and family support.

Our belief at Urban Peace Movement has always been that youth are the answer not the problem when it comes to violence in Oakland, and they proved it that night at city council.

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland. See our guidelines.

One Response

  1. OaklandNative

    Youth involvement is “cute”; however, I hope the adults on the City Council make the wisest decision.


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