Anti-Violence Billboards New Effort to Influence Youth in Oakland
At the intersection of International and Havenscourt Boulevards, one of the new billboards designed by the youth group Urban Peace Movement says "Stop the Killing, Start the Healing". There's a young man holding a photo, and a quote saying "He was my cousin, I miss him every day."
Urban Peace Movement has partnered with Mayor Jean Quan's office to create the "Stop the Killing, Start the Healing" public awareness campaign. It's an effort to combat violence that often leads to the death of young people on Oakland streets. Photos were taken and slogans written by Oakland youth, and they speak to the impact of violence on themselves, their families and friends.
But several passersby are skeptical about the influence of billboards on crime in Oakland.
“Violence is just violence," says Diante Lindsay. "Kids are going to be kids, people are going to be people. You can't stop violence.”
Eric McClane says the message is good, "but if you can't get it onto the streets, that’s just going to be sad.”
Aiesha Rice has been personally affected by Oakland's street violence. She's been to two funerals in the past week.
“I don’t know how much it's going to work," says Rice. "I think it’s a good message, everybody needs to see it. They see it all the time, it's just if they’re going to stop and listen to it is the question.”
But youth leaders from Urban Peace Movement say they're hoping to influence young people with the message. Passing the billboard on his way home from Roots International Academy middle school, Robert Olive was more optimistic.
“I think that’s a good idea 'cause some people might listen, and the people that are killing might feel bad," he says.
The billboards run along International Boulevard from 57th Avenue to the San Leandro border, and will remain up for at least the next few months.