Rallies, Vigils in Bay Area for Police Shooting in Missouri

BAY AREA (BCN)- Continuing unrest following the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri, is prompting rallies and vigils throughout the
country, including at least three Wednesday in the Bay Area.

Faith leaders and activists have called for actions in San Jose, Oakland and Richmond Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Over a week has passed since Michael Brown Jr., 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, but daily protests have continued in Ferguson, drawing a heavy police response.

In Oakland, organizers are drawing connections between Brown’s death and other police shooting deaths.

Speakers at a rally near Oakland police headquarters will include Jeralynn Blueford, whose son Alan Blueford was shot and killed by Oakland police on May 6, 2012; Wanda Johnson, whose son Oscar Grant III was killed by a BART police officer at Oakland’s Fruitvale Station on Jan. 1, 2009; and Dionne Smith, whose son James Earl Rivera Jr. was shot by police in Stockton on July 22, 2010.

The protesters will gather at four different locations in Oakland and converge by police headquarters at the corner of Seventh Street and Broadway.

The rallies will begin at 14th Street and Broadway, the Oakland Main Library at 659 14th St., the African-American History Museum at 125 14th St. and at Jack London Square.

Earlier on Wednesday, San Jose clergy and community leaders have called for a rally outside the Most Holy Trinity Church at 2040 Nassau Drive.

The rally is scheduled to begin at about 1 p.m. Organizers including the Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews and Silicon Valley-San Jose National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president Jeff Moore have said they will “keep their hands raised in solidarity.”

The raised hands invoke the rallying cry “hands up, don’t shoot” from the Ferguson protests. Witness accounts described Brown as having his hands up when he was shot.

A prayer vigil will be held in Richmond at about 7 p.m. at the Miracle Temple Apostolic Pentecostal Church at 2425 Cutting Blvd.

Several other churches have committed to attending the vigil and the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization has asked pastors to suspend regular Bible study sessions to attend the vigil.

Both the Richmond and San Jose actions are organized by members of the PICO National Network, a loose organization of congregation-based community organizations to provide strategy, training and consultations.

(Copyright 2014, BCN, All rights reserved.)

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