OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Families of children killed by violence and city leaders gathered Friday at Oakland’s Lake Merritt where they unveiled and dedicated a memorial to their dead loved ones.
The dedication started with a 3 p.m. ceremony at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St. where family members called out their lost one’s name.
“On behalf of the City of Oakland, we are here with you as family,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said before a crowd of about 50 people. She said
it’s government’s responsibility to provide safety and she apologized because the city failed.
Oakland families have lost 404 children since the beginning of 1994, according to the list compiled by The Children’s Memorial Committee, which sponsored the ceremony and dedication.
Parent Dolores Johnson lost two boys. Tshata Johnson died in 1986 when he was 17 and his brother Malik died at 16 in 1995.
All the children whose names were called and whose names are on the memorial were under 18 and were not participating in any crime, Children’s Memorial Committee member Gayle Nicolson-Johe said.
Nicolson-Johe lost a grandson, Christopher Jones to domestic violence. The boy is memorialized in the sculpture dedicated today on Bellevue Avenue across from The Gardens at Lake Merritt.
The sculpture by Dennis Smith of Utah shows three Oakland children who died in violence. Christopher Jones holds up three-year-old Warren Hoffman while Jenny Lin sits separated from the two boys by a crane. Hoffman is Nicolson-Johe’s grandson.
The crane represents the salt and spirit of the children. The crane, with its wings spread, is lifting the three and all the children whose names are engraved below the sculpture above tragedy.
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