On Wednesday, East Bay youth and community members will take a stand against what they see as deteriorating conditions of schools and the lack of proactive measures to reduce youth violence. They will be participating in the East Bay leg of “Peace & Dignity Journeys 2000,” a Native American-human rights alliance and transcontinental prayer run.
The event is being organized by Youth Together, a multi-racial violence prevention and social justice project operating in five high schools in Berkeley, Oakland and Richmond. Youth Together has sponsored unity events and led discussions on the topics of social injustice and violence since its inception in 1996.
The Youth Together participants will meet up with Native American runners, who started running in early May from Arctic Village, Alaska. A second set of runners set out from Tierra del Fuego in South America, also in early May. The two groups of runners will meet up in October at the temples of the Sun and the Moon in Teotihuacan, near Mexico City.
On Wednesday, the runners will gather at 6 a.m. at Point Reyes Station, run east through the county and across the San Rafael Bridge. At noon they will be welcomed in Richmond at the YMCA.
They will then continue on to Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Berkeley, at the corner of Martin Luther King Way and Center Street where there will be a welcoming ceremony and speeches by Youth Together students and community leaders.
From there, they will run to Castlemont High School in Oakland where there will be a welcoming ceremony with African, Aztec, Polynesian and Mien dancers and additional Youth Together student speakers.
Funded initially by the U.S. Department of Education's hate crimes prevention grant, Youth Together is currently funded by the department as well as additional private foundation grants, including the Evelyn and Walter Haas Foundation.