This site displays photos of makeshift memorials that spontaneously arise after individuals are killed by violence in Oakland. Each site of a killing is photographed whether or not a memorial is found there....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"No tolerance for shrines"

Twice now, I've heard the opinion that essentially, street memorials are bad news and do more harm than good. The first time was from Tribune reporter Harry Harris, after I asked him if he was interested in looking at this site. More recently, I read in this East Bay Express article, a quote from Councilwoman Jean Quan saying "We have ... no tolerance for shrines because they have become magnets for retaliation. Please let the police and my office know if a shrine appears in your neighborhood; we make arrangements for police and Public Works to take them down."

Although I can't disprove this theory, I'm not sure there is overwhelming evidence to support it, either. As a matter of fact, the Tribune had initially implied the shrine for Anthony Dailey (#42), was partly responsible for the death of Moses Barnett (#46), who was killed near the shrine. Two days later, police stated the following:

"the Friday night fatal shooting of a man at a street shrine for Anthony in West Oakland was not connected to his killing. Killed was Moses Barnett III, 31, of Oakland. He was shot about 9:53 p.m. Friday at the shrine at 31st and Market streets (...) it was coincidental Barnett was killed at the shrine. There is nothing to indicate it's related (to the youth's death)".

In any case, it seems that when someone is killed on the street, it would be natural for loved ones to express grief, at least in part, on the street as well. The problem with Councilwoman Jean Quan's "no tolerance" attitude for street memorials is that it is yet another way to marginalize and silence the victims. The street memorials for Chauncey Bailey (who I liked and respected), can still be seen on 14th Street two weeks after his murder. Why hasn't Quan demanded that they be "taken down"? Probably because Chauncey was, well, somebody. This proverbial double standard speaks volumes about our attitude towards the "other" victims....

9 comments:

Steve Berley said...

It seems as if the city aims to deal with the escalating violence by trying to erase the artifacts of sorrow and remembrance. Very sad.

Da Man said...

You are providing a valuable service to the community. If you were running for Oakland mayor, you'd get my vote.

Da Man said...

I might add that it would be nice to see a wide angle view of the block where the victim was murdered. For people to see the nearby homes and business where lives were needlessly extinguished would place things in the proper perspective. I recognized some of areas where a wide angle shot was posted.

Nic B. said...

da man,
I appreciate your input.
I'm not a photographer, so any feedback is appreciated.
Nic B.

Anonymous said...

As a youth in the Oakland community, I definetly agree that that the shrines and the rememberence of these individuals have the right to be placed there.Whatever lifestyle a individual live,or who the victim was loved or respected by, should not reflect upon the griefing process of family members that truly are victims of street.

Anonymous said...

As a youth in the Oakland community, I definetly agree that that the shrines and the rememberence of these individuals have the right to be placed there.Whatever lifestyle a individual live,or who the victim was loved or respected by, should not reflect upon the griefing process of family members that truly are victims of street.

Anonymous said...

2006 for me was the year when many of my friends were killed. I was at many shrines and the police did disrespect us by removing the candles and trying to kick us out of our own blocks. 2007 is the year we all get together to remembr our fallen soldiers, wether a mayor, president or a damn king demand no tolerance for shrines, we'll do dat we've been doing for years, say "F" you and drink and smoke and CRY our asses off for another part of our hearts falling off... WE HOLD ET DOWN IS CALLLED TOWN BIZNAS, WE LIVE BY THE STREETS AND SADLY DIE BY THE STREETS AND WE GON HOLD ET DOWN AT THE STREETS...

'Jumoke Hinton said...

Give Thanks for your powerful images!
Yes we must adequately mourn, we must acknowledge those that have gone on before us! The shrines are keeping us sane and yet we have not fully embraced all the work we must do as individuals to prevent this. We have the power that no elected official has- livin it. Yes we are living by the streets dying in the streets and so we must heal our streets and lift up a value of LIFE and LOVE! Please BE the LOVE we need!

upenzi said...

i live directly next to the shine that was there for anthony and i can tell you first hand that moses being shot was a result of that shine being there. there were literally 50 kids and adult outside that night dancing, singing, drinking, crying etc. when someone decided to do a drive by on the memorial. moses happened to get shot. although the idea of the memorials is a good idea, they tend to get out of control.