I’m on the east side of Alameda Island, standing in mud in front of a storm drain that empties out into San Leandro Bay. There’s a stretch of homes right on the shoreline looking out at estuaries, the Oakland Airport, and Coliseum. The waterline isn’t quite at my feet right now, but in less than a century I’d likely be standing in water up to my shoulders.
About a hundred people have gathered in a circle at Civic Center Plaza, a park at the footsteps of San Francisco’s City Hall. Holding lit candles, the crowd huddles closely together.
“Good evening and welcome everyone on this rather somber occasion,” says Reverend Lyle Beckman of San Francisco Night Ministry.
“May this be an opportunity to open our minds and our hearts and help to find ways to bring people into a safer place and care much better for those who are our sisters and brothers," Reverend Beckman continues.
Deafening gunshots rang out just as James Martin arrived home. Troubled by the news of a 17-year-old young man dying in front of his house, he did what anyone would do – actually what most wouldn’t do. He grabbed his portable karaoke machine and stood at the sidewalk memorial erected for the young man and began singing, “Wake up everybody, no more sleeping in bed, no more backward thinking time for thinking ahead.”