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placeholder COR mobilizes for health care, crime prevention in Cherryland

Nuns swing hammers, hang wallboard in New Orleans Katrina recovery effort

New seminarians: how they heard the call to priesthood

Project Andrew invites men to learn about priesthood

St. Cornelius teaches tech again, thanks to help from other schools

Newly ordained Jesuit, born with one arm, set to minister to ‘wounded warriors’

Civilians urged to pray for vocations as military chaplains

Visit to Chiapas was pivotal in decision to join religious life

Sisters of Mercy experience renewed interest in religious life

Father William Macchi, former vicar general, dies at 71

Cathedral cenopath provides way to memorialize loved ones

Program helps parishioners discover key talents

Vatican astronomy

African Catholics called to bring change

Bishop seeks provisions for African women in polygamous marriages

Two women to be honored by Catholic Charities

Holy Names U. honors grads, faculty for outstanding achievement

Men’s conference Oct. 31 at cathedral

Blessing of the animals

Father John Coghlan

placeholder October 19, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA

Lupita Ramirez (left), second grader at Cherryland Elementary School, and Karen Montero (obscured), a fourth-grader at Cherryland, hold a map showing areas of crime in their neighborhood during the Oct. 1 COR meeting. Both girls belong to St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo.
COR mobilizes for health care,
crime prevention in Cherryland

Supervisor Nate Miley tells COR participants of his commitment to violence prevention and medical services for Cherryland.

Over 150 clergy and lay leaders from congregations and schools affiliated with Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) united Oct.1 in Hayward to ask Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley to include comprehensive medical services in the $26 million community center being built in the Cherryland neighborhood.

There is currently no health center in Cherryland. As unemployment rises, the demand for services has increased 50 percent in the last eight months and the surrounding clinics do not have enough resources to meet this need, according with COR.

“My oldest son has epilepsy,” said Coco Ramirez, a COR leader and parent at Cherrlyand Elementary School. “If he has an attack, it could be fatal. To see a doctor he has to miss work and travel two hours by bus to a clinic in Oakland. We will not stop until medical services are in place.”

Last year, residents of the unincorporated area voted to increase medical services including primary care doctors, pediatricians and dental and hearing services as part of the Eden Area Livability Initiative (EALI) developed by Supervisor Miley.

Sofia Murillo, a COR leader and Cherryland resident, testified at the meeting that when her husband was injured at work, they had to go to an overcrowded clinic “where he was put on a waiting list. Two weeks later his face was paralyzed on one side and we found ourselves at an emergency room in terror.”

At the meeting, Supervisor Miley reinforced his commitment to have comprehensive medical services included in the new community center. He also committed to exploring additional options such as a school-based clinic or the creation of a satellite clinic in underutilized county facilities.

Additionally, he said he will implement a new violence prevention pilot program in the Cherryland neighborhood. COR’s statistics show that from 2005-2007, violent crime in Cherryland increased by 35 percent.

Data from the sheriff’s department shows that over 527 active gang members — from rival gangs — congregate around the Hayward Adult School and Brekwitz High School, making Cherryland an incubator for gang fights and youth violence.

“I don’t even feel safe walking on my street in daylight, let alone at night,” said Gloria Walker, COR leader and a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo. “Every week there are shootings and we are afraid for our families,” added Coco Ramirez.

The new violence prevention pilot program, which is expected to be in place by the summer of 2010, includes crime and data analysis that targets services for the people most likely to cause crimes, and focuses on hot spots.

It will also create a working group of law enforcement, service organizations, and community members to collaborate immediate responses to violence and send youth outreach workers into the neighborhood to building relationships with youth and connect them to jobs and education.

Finally, the pilot project will include a job development coordinator to find jobs for the hard-to-employ, like youth, and people coming out of prison, so they will have real career alternatives to violence and crime.

Programs that include these components have a proven record of success in different cities of the country. For example, in the first year of implementation, Boston’s homicide rate for people under 24 fell by 60 percent and in Chicago, shootings dropped by 67 percent.

At the meeting, Supervisor Miley also said he will work with COR to explore the viability of an identification card for the unincorporated Eden Area, and to work with other cities interested in participating.

The ID card would be similar to the ones recently approved in San Francisco and Oakland. They give residents a way to prove their identity. In San Francisco, the ID card also provides access to city services like the public library, parks and recreation. Card-holders receive discounts to shop locally and support the local economy.

April Chang from the office of Congress-woman Barbara Lee pledged to work with COR to identify federal funds that could support the programs initiated by COR and the EALI process.

“I am sure that working together we can resolve the problems of our community” said Osmin Lopez from St. John the Baptist Parish, who led the closing prayer.

COR is a grassroots, faith-based federation of 12 congregations in south Alameda County, representing 25,000 families. COR is an affiliate of the PICO National Network.

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