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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Silence the Violence -- or else!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2007 at 1:06 PM

A couple weeks ago, I was at City Hall to report on the Club 6 public hearing. Wandering the crowded hallway was a group of thuggish looking dudes rocking tall T’s that read: “It takes the hood to save the hood.” Curious, I went to see what they were all about. They were members from United Playaz, a gang-violence prevention squad based in SF whose credo is, “It takes a thug to save a thug.”

A few minutes into the conversation with founder Rudy Corpuz, Jr., one of their phones’ rings and he apologizes for having to leave so abruptly -- there’s a gang fight about to break out somewhere and they gotta intervene before shit gets serious. It was almost comical in a who-you-gonna-call gangsta Ghostbusters way, but at a time when San Francisco’s homicide and violent crime rates are increasingly worrisome, groups like this are seriously needed.

The Chronicle reports there were 42 homicides in San Francisco as of June 5, though Corpuz says number 43 occurred last night. Jamar Lake, a 19-year-old, was number 39 on May 24.

“15-24 is the highest age group and it’s been like that for the last couple years,” Corpuz says. “But it’s not just homicides we should worry about, there are hundreds of shootings that happen that don’t get reported.”

Three more may be added to the escalating homicide toll as a shooting at 9 a.m. this morning left three wounded in Western Addition.

In an annual attempt to “bring peace to the streets,” various organizations, including United Playaz, have teamed up to make today Silence the Violence Day 2007, with candlelight vigils being held in Oakland and San Francisco later this evening. The SF vigil begins at 5:30 at 5th and Natoma Streets, with the procession ending at Jones and Eddy Streets.

It’s always good to see people come together for a positive cause but every year these events are held to no avail. KMEL silencing music for a whole minute today in observation of Silence the Violence day and endorsing 50 Cent gangsterisms tomorrow isn’t likely to make much of a difference. But maybe it will.

“I think everybody could do more, not just radio stations,” Corpuz says. -- Zoneil Maharaj

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Matt Stroud


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