A Ride through a Neighborhood

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church compressed
Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church


I could hear, “We’re tired of this,” echoing off the walls of First Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. Brenda Payton, Oakland Voices coordinator, told correspondents  from Sacramento and Oakland Voices how members from this seemingly small East Oakland Church walk the streets in their neighborhoods.  We took in the church’s smallness as we listened to the enormity of the task— Cease Fire—an effort to rid communities of gun violence, one block at a time

Community members joined parishioners from First Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church to reclaim their neighborhoods, block by block.

We witnessed East Oakland’s tranquility first hand on Saturday, March 14th. As we traveled through East Oakland, we saw people in their yards, walking the street and engaged in shopping. No signs of fear – just a community at peace.

Close up of church compressed

We visitors and the community benefited from the numerous hours walked by engaged parishioners and community residents  working with the Oakland Ceasefire program. The program is directed Ms. Reygan Harmon and serves predominately black and brown men actively engaged in shootings, ranging in age from their mid – 20s to 30s,  most of them lacking social and job skills.

Those echoes I heard faded away as we circled the petite church. They were replaced by car sounds and everyday sights of people enjoying their neighbor. I could almost hear them saying “thank-you” to those community volunteers who helped them reclaim their neighborhood.

Author Profile

Gerald Green is a 25-year cancer survivor. Green released his memoir Life Constricted: To Love, Hugs and Laughter in 2010, which chronicles his family’s saga and victories over his three bouts with cancer: tongue cancer in 1995, neck cancer in 1997 and prostate cancer in 2008. His chapter, Fatherhood Love, appeared in the second edition of Black Fathers an Invisible Presence in America published by Routledge in 2011. Green’s poetry has appeared in the Healing Journey, an on-line publication, and The Monthly, a premier magazine of culture and commerce, which published one of his essays. Green’s writings like his article Prostate Cancer’s Time Zone reflect the importance of early cancer detection and the healthy impact of a loving family. Green is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) ECOG-ACRIN Head and Neck Cancer Committee and the Cancer Research Advocates Committee.