Espanola Jackson has been a force to be reckoned with in Bayview Hunters Point for over 45 years. Often time she is the only genuine leader who can address the genuine concerns of the community. The Bayview Hunters point has witnessed too many deaths - violent deaths of too many young people. These deaths are not natural - turf wars and animosity - black on black violence. So with the leadership of the community leaders - grass root support - we all put on the Crime Conference and decided to take charge of our own destiny.

We decided that the best theme that would say it all - "It requires mutual responsibility. It demands mutual respect".

On Friday, May 31, 2002 hundreds gathered all day- children, men and women of good faith - we took charge and held the first ever Crime Conference at the Bayview Opera House. We tried to get the best-qualified speakers on the panels - to address the life threatening values and concerns of the community at ground zero.

The mission of the Bayview Hunters Point Collaborative on Crime Reduction is to reduce crime in the Bayview Hunters Point community through the enhancement of existing - as well as the development of new strategies, systems and partnerships dedicated to supporting the quality of life for neighborhood residents.

The Planning Committee consisted of Andrew Bozeman an expert who took charge of the Public Relations and the Media. He was assisted by Francisco Da Costa who brought to the table his law enforcement expertise and organizational skills. Andrew created quality Press Kits that sent a clear message that we meant business.

Rev. Ismael Burch from Neighborhood Safety Partnership did an excellent job attending to the sitting arrangement and the sound system. He was the man who did it all without much prompting. He gave the invocation at the Crime Conference and called God's blessing to unite our group to stay focused.

Cary Calandra from SLUG helped with the clean up of the Bayview Opera House facility and provided us with the equipment to store thrash. At the planning meetings she lent her support and experience to steer the group in the right direction.

Keith Choy from the Mayor's Criminal Justice Council acted as a liaison and created avenues to better deliver goods from City Hall.

Lonnie Holmes from the S.F. Juvenile Probation Department was the M.C. of the day. He was born at Hunters Point.

Herm Lewis a former gang member and now budding rap artist - helped facilitate and bring a better sense to the table about the turf wars. We played his music to set the tone at the Crime Conference.

Barbara Lynn from S.F. SAFE brought to the table that perspective of one that cares and works with the victims of crime.

Amy Peltier was that force that took the pertinent notes and carried on the detail instructions that steered the Planning Committee and kept it on track. She put the Power Point presentation and hand made the ribbons we all wore with pride.

Robert Plath who hails from Marin County and heads the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance joined our Planning Committee to lend support.

Terrell Rogers from Hunters Point and a former gang member was one of the key facilitators. He gave his best.

Ranon Ross from the S.F. District Attorney's Office helped us discern when it came to legal and logistical issues. He arranged for the breakfast and lunch. Also for the outstanding banner which was a center piece attraction.

Jay Smith from HUD played a key role in bringing most of the committee to the table. His organization backed the committee and created a climate for a better dialog. We delivered.

Reuben Smith was worked for over 38 years at the Boys and Girls Club brought his dedication and experience to the table. He knows all about ground zero. Well admired by the community at large.

Samariya Smith from AIMCO helped with the printing of the programs and other logistical support.

Jim Williams from the S.F. Housing Authority was the man who with Jay Smith originated the idea. Suffice it to say Jim and Jay - did justice to the "idea" and executed a plan to fruition. The whole of San Francisco now knows that the Bayview Hunters Point can deliver.

Demetrius Williams a former gang member took a lead role to work hard and be a facilitator at the Crime Conference. He works for the Housing Authority with his buddy Terrell Rogers.

Wills Winnfield another reformed gang member also acted as a facilitator.

There were others who influenced the planning too numerous to mention but all of them wished us all well.

The Bayview Opera House gave us free access to hold meetings often at short notice. We thank them very much.

Much as been discussed and soon a blue print will be put in place to address the issues - Crime and Jobs. Also, programs and facilities to cater to the youth. These plans will then be presented to the authorities that can make good stuff happen. Non Governmental Agencies, City officials, State and Federal officials and agencies will be informed. Local community leaders and businesses are ready to work. Now, most see that united we can and should work to stop the violence.

Saturday, June 1, 2002 we held a picnic it was attended by over 1000 people. There were many children. It was great watching the community come together. Watching community leaders and Law Enforcement working as partners.

The great lesson learned is that we must take control of our community. That we must make good stuff happen. We cannot and should not rely solely on local, state, and federal agencies for all the help. We the community should take charge of our destiny.

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