After one of the most violent months in Oakland history, top lawmakers and community members are coming together and promising to fund solutions they hope will ultimately save lives.
U.S. Senator Alex Padilla and local leaders gathered Wednesday to discuss ways to address ongoing gun violence that plagues Oakland.
"What gives me hope is there is not only a lot of ideas around the table, but a recognition of how complex facing gun violence is," Senator Padilla said.
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He said he's committing to look for new solutions, but also wants to help boost current ideas.
That includes increasing funding for existing initiatives such as Oakland's macro team, which responds to non-violent calls.
"We are committed to increasing federal investments in counseling service, not just violence prevention but intervention programs, education opportunities," he said. "But we are not starting from zero."
After a private meeting about the issue, Congresswoman Barbara Lee said its clear more funding also needs to go to grassroots organizations.
"Several programs utilize violence interrupters, young people who are able to prevent the onset of whatever is about to take place and I think that is a very unique and creative approach, but we need to bring it to scale," she said.
Other proposals include increasing funding for police staffing and even declaring a public health emergency.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said declaring a federal health emergency to make medical reimbursement available for violence prevention "is actually a very creative suggestion."
Councilmembers representing parts of Oakland with some of the highest gun violence rates said available resources also need to be better used and there needs to be more urgency.
"We need to treat gun violence in the same way as we responded to the pandemic, making sure we cross boundaries and traditional silos and pull all of our resources together" said Oakland councilmember Loren Taylor.
Advocates in Oakland's Chinatown who are devastated by violence said they hope these conversations lead to taction.
"This conversation is a good beginning," said Carl Chan with the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, "but again, it has to be the true actions which can speak louder and keep everyone safe."