Stockton city leaders are working with community groups to come up with a response to deal with the raids and help people understand their rights. “We are asking people, don’t give false information either, it’s better not to say anything, don’t try and change your name, for sure we don’t want you to try and run, any of those things. We just want to make sure you remain silent until you get an attorney,” said Pastor Trena Turner, executive director of Faith in the Valley.
The Stockton City Council voted in favor of partnering with Advance Peace, a gun-violence reduction program that has both drawn harsh criticism and optimism from the community. On Tuesday, the council voted 6-1 to include “in its public safety planning a commitment, support and partnership with Advance Peace,” an initiative first implemented in Richmond. Stockton will now test the program for four years to see if it does indeed bring peace to the city.
Gun violence in Stockton continues to be a hot-button issue. It’s guaranteed to take center stage tonight when the City Council will be asked to consider a resolution supporting a four-year partnership with Advance Peace, a crime-reduction program that has shown some promise in Richmond, the East Bay city where it was first introduced. The program has riled some residents who believe mistakenly that Advance Peace is publicly funded and pays criminals not to commit crimes.
Elbert Holman, Vice Mayor of the City of Stockton, Bishop Rufus K. Turner with Victory in Praise and Faith in the Valley, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, Cleveland Schools Remembers, and NAACP all publicly support Advance Peace. Julie Schardt, an organizer with Cleveland School Remembers says their group had been interested in Advance Peace long before it was announced that Mayor Michael Tubbs was interested in bringing it to Stockton.
“We cannot stop ICE from doing what they do,” said Curtis Smith, a local pastor and community organizer, as he warned the volunteers not to interfere with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “But we can offer support so that people know they can count on their community to show up in their time of need.” The “rapid response” training program was one of a half-dozen being carried out this fall by Faith in the Valley.
San Joaquin County residents, overall, are struggling to prosper, researchers say. And while the community is lagging behind other counties, the largest group of people affected by disparities continues to be minorities, particularly black residents, which make up 6.7 percent of the county’s population.
Toni McNeil was standing in a circle surrounded by dozens of people gathered Friday to condemn white supremacy following the incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a white man tapped her on her right shoulder. As she turned, the man called her over to him. The interaction lasted less than 60 seconds but it made her want to cry. “I want to tell you I’m sorry,” he told her with tears in his eyes and her hand in between his.
A meeting between Stockton clergy members and the founder of Advance Peace met Tuesday to discuss the controversial crime prevention program. The program seeks to help people, identified by law enforcement as being likely to engage in gun violence, stay out of trouble.
“We’re here because we strongly believe that the people in the community hold the best hope to change the community. So we’re here marching for peace, for all of the violence to cease regardless of where it comes from. We want our city to be the amazing city that we know it can be,” Pastor Trena Turner, executive director of Faith in the Valley, said during the walk.