Not in Oakland

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Bang Bang!

"It's just Oakland." That's what everybody says. As the violence progresses, the youth in our city are turning into the prey of these crimes. The year has barely started and we already have kids that were at the wrong place at the wrong time, gone.

Those future doctors, thinkers, presidents, curers of cancer, they're all gone. More and more kids are getting used to big-hooded sweaters with the words R.I.P. on them and images of the most recently deceased. They may be stylish but that shouldn't be a new fad that we get used to any time soon. I have been to funerals, I have seen the tears shed for babies that parents will never get back, and I myself have cried for friends I will not see on this earth again.

On my street, Seminary, it is instinct to just drop to the ground and only afterwards check that everyone is okay. There have been bullets that have made it past the walls of my home, all the way to the side of my sister's bed. One even lodged inside our T.V. It has become standard for cops to come to the crime scene -- our home -- looking for the evidence, following the path the stray bullets could have taken with the beams of their flashlights.

It's a pretty stupid thing that people are so accustomed to the idea that Oakland is not a place to play around, a place where you have to watch your back all the time or carry a gun just to feel safe. Guns only bring more problems as we have seen with stray bullets found in innocent kids. In Oakland, it seems anyone can get a hold of a gun.


Kids killing kids, mothers praying their kids will make it home safe, friends lost, hearts in pain, big hooded sweaters, and all we have to say is "that's Oakland"? Well it may be just Oakland, but Oakland is our home. Instead of these apathetic words why can't we start saying, "Not in Oakland!"

With a Perspective, I'm Medardo Gaytan.

Medardo Gaytan is a junior at the Life Academy of Health and Biosciences High School in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood. Find his classmates' work, his teacher's story and educator resources at The Life Academy Perspectives Project.