Richmond Ceasefire looks to the future with town hall celebration


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Family members and friends held signs reading the name of their deceased loved ones during the Citywide Walk event hosted by the Richmond Ceasefire in Richmond, Calif. on July 21.

By Jessica Suico, Assistant News Editor

To stop gun violence that perpetuates the community and local law enforcement there must be a coalition between a larger part of the community and the police who have sworn to protect them.

The Ceasefire Organization of Richmond and Living Hope Neighborhood Church help raise awareness on gun violence to bring more people from the local community into the cause of ending gun violence in Richmond, California.

To further their work, the Ceasefire Organization held an event, hosted by Pastor Dave Clark, to celebrate the progress made and the continued strides toward strengthening and identifying community leadership and establishing a better relationship with local police officers during an ill-attended town hall meeting and celebration event on Friday

“This event is funded by law enforcement and the fact that no one from law enforcement is here tonight concerns me,” co-coordinator of Richmond Ceasefire Donnell Jones said. “They are some of the people that should be here tonight and are not.”

“We need accountability and transparency from our law enforcement,” Jones said.

There needs to be a discussion about the problems that law enforcement creates and a way to move forward from that, but law enforcement needs to be involved in that discussion said Jones.

Richmond resident Dewanda Joseph said she hasn’t heard any concrete solutions over the years just a lot of the problems with law enforcement in Richmond and the wrongs the community is doing.

“If we want to see positive changes in the community with law enforcement and gun violence we need to have courage and talk solutions and not problems,” Joseph said.

Back in April the second of three fatal shootings that took place all within one week ended a 4-month period with no deaths from gun violence in Richmond.

The Ceasefire holds weekly walks in Richmond to remember gun violence victims and to breed community engagement in their cause.

Jones said the next form of action that needs to take place is to ask Richmond law enforcement to have a meeting with Ceasefire to talk about solutions on how they are going to get involved in putting a stop to violence in the community without adding to it.

Jones said he aims to make solution talks a norm in the community and have more people come to the table that can offer solutions.

“I am looking for engagement from people and outsiders in the community that don’t even know about Ceasefire to get involved,” Jones said. “For the city councilmen to get involved and shift homelessness, and housing in this city and help by being a part of putting a stop to violence in Richmond.”

Joseph who has lived in Richmond her entire life said, “We need to get the city councilmen involved also and the politicians because this goes deeper than just law enforcement.”

Although no law enforcement officials ever showed up, Clark, Jones and attendees didn’t let that stop the discussion or celebration.

Jones, who is also a Pastor at New Direction Christian Academy told the small crowd that the work Ceasefire is doing is at times hard and much is groundwork.

“We need to get our hands dirty and get seriously involved as a community if we want to stop gun violence and get law enforcement involved with us to stop this.”

Jones said that their weekly walks as a community and holding up their signs isn’t enough anymore.

“This event is for you,” he said. “This is your community, let’s get involved, as I see everyone here at this event tonight it starts with you on change.”

Friday was Ceasefire’s seventh and last event funded by law enforcement, Jones said.

“It’s one of the poorest attended events and I really expected more people to attend,” he said. “Now it’s going to be up to the community and Ceasefire if they want to have more events.”

Jones said there isn’t enough resources for Ceasefire who mostly rely on the churches in the community. “They can only do so much,” he said.

Pastor of Living Hope Neighborhood Church Dave Clark said, “Staying connected with the community and keeping people in the loop of what is going on, highlights and low lights that is how I personally plan on moving forward with this subject.”

As for the Richmond Police Department, one thing they can do first is to be honest with the community since there is a lot of distrust where they are concerned, Jones said.