By Mister Phillips
On Thursday, my wife Angela called me at my law office and told me to be careful walking home, because there was another shooting in our neighborhood. Two people died this time. One person was wounded. This shooting was on the tail of a credible threat at Kennedy High School. This threat was on the tail of the shooting outside the DeAnza-Pinole football game.
I wish I could say acts of violence are new to our city. However, they are not. My dad was a homicide detective here. I still remember walking into the kitchen and seeing photographs of dead bodies on the table. I was just a boy.
Although we have learned to live with the fear and the pain of living in a violent city, this is not living. Adults should not be afraid to walk home from work; and children should not be afraid to attend class or football games. Our city has to change.
Public safety must be our first priority. However, that means more than just police and fire service. It also means changing the way we think. People made jokes about the Office of Neighborhood Safety. They called it “hug a thug.” However, what is wrong with hugging people who are in pain? This is a hard place to live, and anything we can do to make it even a little softer will serve us well.
If we want lasting change in our city, we must practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, every day; and we must to teach our children to do the same, every day. After a lifetime, I am convinced this is the only way.
In closing, I offer my deepest sympathy to every member of our community who has been affected by gun violence, and I pledge to do my part as an elected official and Richmond resident to make our city and schools safe for our children and families. If you have any information about shootings in our city, please call the Richmond Police Department at (510) 620-6655.
Mister Phillips is a longtime community advocate who currently serves as a member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Trustees.