Following is a powerful and thoughtful message shared by a South Berkeley community member, Carol Wyatt, who is committed to finding peaceful solutions to violence that include, respect, and uplift the community – working in partnership with the BOSS Reclaiming Our Communities (ROC) street outreach team. She originally posted it on Nextdoor.
“Hi Neighbors – With the recent shooting in the San Pablo Park in West Berkeley, it seemed timely that our community just had a wonderful conversation with Tyrone and his colleagues from BOSS. For those unfamiliar, BOSS are the folks that can be tapped into to bring folks together from around the most violent and need-of-nurture times, and help bring change and support in communities where violence and other anathema events impact communities of color.
The stop-snitching anthem is one we all know…in our community, it took the murder of an innocent by-stander in the form of a young mother trying to defend herself an her children from gun violence right outside her home where she grew up all of her life on Chestnut Street back in 2015. There comes a time when enough is enough and life is more precious than egos and turn wars.
BOSS serves the Bay Area…and has offices in Oakland and in Berkeley, and specifically South Berkeley, where San Pablo Park is (the shooting the other day was at SP Park). As self-sufficiency creates environments that can change narratives, BOSS is looking to work with these communities to engage with each other and find solutions that are not intended to engage OPD. For those that do not know, even though I chair the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council, I am a HUGE PROPONENT of keeping OPD and law enforcement in the positions they belong…which include not being involved in our community, by being able to conduct our conversations our way, with people who can allow us to speak freely and heal our pains.
Since there are no crimes being committed in our community when crime has already occurred, why should law enforcement be part of that conversation? Perhaps we’ll need them at some point, but when the incident has already happened, we need healing and people that can help us overcome violence in ways to keep the cops where they need to be — outside of our daily lives. OPD at the table may be needed at some times but what about times when cops are out of fit for the community problems we face?
That’s where BOSS can come into view. The mostly black male outreach workers like Tyrone and his colleagues, we need folks that have come out of these communities that are working to help change outcomes. The cycle of streets-to-prison is something they want to stop because if you can provide opportunities and redirect minds from violence, you can change lives.
When we apply certain remedies not meant to heal, we don’t heal…and there needs to be new and inventive ways to serve our communities, where trust, inclusion and supportive abilities to have conversations that happen in welcoming foundations. Working with BOSS will help us do what we want and need to do…bring communities facing violence into peace talks.
I hope you’ll reach out if you need. If you’d like more info, feel free to PM me. I’m in the process of coordinating a conversation within our community with BOSS, who have offices on Adeline and 28th Street, and these conversations are meant to change the narratives we’re cycling an engage all that want to be a part of safe streets that help include those in need and to improve the lives of everyone around us. Please share this information since healing needs to happen and getting to that healing is difficult when many believe it’s out of reach to them or they feel it excludes them.
Carol Wyatt (originally posted on Nextdoor, Crime & Safety section)”
If you need support dealing with, preventing, or mediating community violence or want to engage with peaceful community building and solutions, contact Tyrone Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.