Incarcerated Youth Share Feelings on Death of Oakland Cops

Editor’s Note: Since 1996, The Beat Within has published a weekly magazine and conducted writing workshops in juvenile halls in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. This week one of our workshop topics dealt with the shooting death of four police officers in Oakland last weekend. We asked the young writers to share their feelings with the grieving families of the slain police officers.


Dear Grieving Families,

I Know How You Feel
I am sorry that the police officers – who were husbands, brothers, sons and friends – have been killed. I feel your pain because I have lost a brother to the streets. One of the ways I dealt with his death was by thinking of the good times we had and now it’s by seeing a smile on my niece’s face when I visit. All you can do really is move forward with your lives, and don’t let the loss keep you from doing the right thing or make you give up your life because of the hurt and anger. Just think, would your loved ones want you to get revenge, or just let everything ride and hope for the best? Best wishes to the cops and their families.

The Hurt
When someone loses a loved one it hurts them mentally,
Losing a loved one who can never be replaced,
And their families that are suffering can never heal.
You can heal physically but can never heal mentally.
You can cry but tears will never stay.
You can pretend it never happened, but the pain will always be there.
Once you lose a loved one, you feel there’s nothing left in the world for you.
Some people always take their loss very seriously due to the pain.
When someone loses a loved one, they need someone for comfort and company.
Hope you and others that lost loved ones take this as advice.

Don’t Treat Us All Bad
I know people look at juveniles in a bad way, but it is a mistake. It takes a process for us to change ourselves and be positive. The Oakland parolee filled me with anger. Thanks to him, it makes people like me look bad, and we are not! It’s going to affect all young people in the criminal justice system. To me the outcome of this is going be more violence and poverty and it’s going to make the city of Oakland look bad. I’m sorry for the families. I understand both sides of the police officers and the criminal.

I hope that the families can stand strong. YOU all are not alone. You have people in the community to support you. The feelings you feel, I feel. I feel your pain. I lost someone special in my life. I’m sorry. I hope other families and people won’t suffer our pain. Stay strong!

How to Move On
I know how it feels to lose a loved one. I lost both of my uncles in the same year to street violence. For my family and me it was hard. It hurt us all, but over the months I slowly got over it. I miss them so much, but I had no choice but to move on.

I Feel Bad
To the families, I feel bad that your sons are gone. I don’t think what the shooter did was smart. First off, he was wrong because there are now four innocent people that have been killed just because they tried to do their job. I would have rather surrendered myself.

Secondly, he got himself killed. Excuse me, but that’s just plain dumb. Yes, this is the path he chose and it ended up getting him and the police officers killed.

Now the officers’ kids are going to grow up with no dad. I really feel bad for all the families. I just hope all the families can move on. Peace.

Words Can’t Explain
I am disgusted. Period. The shooter has given all young people a bad name. Sure we young people need better schools, more jobs, more opportunities. So many of us find ourselves on the streets, and when we are on the streets drama unfolds. What I want to say is I am angry and sad too. I know what it is like to lose a family member by the gun. I hate guns. I hate idiots, and this shooter was an idiot. Peace and love to all families in mourning. I feel your pain. I hope someone feels mine too.
-Yung Gee

I Know the Feeling
I’ve had family members and close homies pass. To be honest, I don’t really like the police, but I feel how their close ones and relatives feel. This is related to how I feel, because it’s related to losing someone you care for. Well, everyone must go through a life or death situation, and I guess at that moment, it was their time.

To the police officer that survived, he must be in a lot of pain, especially knowing his partners died and he survived. He must feel guilty in some way. He must be going through a lot in the hospital, but he should keep his head up. At least he’s still breathing. I understand his family is in a lot of pain right now, but they should be happy because he survived. This man’s family and friends should be glad. RIP to the police officers, and best of luck to you the survivor.

It’s Very Hard
Man, it’s very hard losing somebody! I remember when I lost three people back to back to back. First, I lost my favorite auntie, Charlene, in a car accident. It hurts me still to this day. Then I lost my brother, Dejohn to gun violence. He was 17. I loved my brother.

After my brother, I lost a very close friend I knew since I was six years old. His name was Anthony. But I feel like he still here ‘cause we rep his name to the fullest.

All I can say to the people who lost their brothers and loved ones is that I’m sorry that it happened and I know how you feel. Keep your head up and hang in there.

Unbearable Pain
To the families grieving, I realize that right now your pain is beyond imagination. But you should take the time to reflect on the memories. I have experienced many losses in just a three-year period, and I have found that praying to God for peace, love, and mercy helps me live through my pain. And what reigns in my mind is the quote, ‘Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.’ So during this time, I pray that your spirits remain high and that you believe still in the glory of the Lord.
With prayer,

I Feel Your Pain
I can feel your pain. When I lost my cousin in the streets, and my partner too, I was very mad, sad, and even ready to go do something very stupid.

I wish the best to all the families, even the family of the young man who did the shooting. To the families of the officers, I think that you should not take it out on Lovelle Mixon’s family. Just like I didn’t take it out on the killer’s family when my cousin Davon died.
Pray for each other,

I’m Sorry For Your Loss
I know there’s nothing in the world right now that will make you feel at ease. I’m not going to load up your heads with a bunch of bull. I know how you feel because in the last six years I have lost three family members. I’m sorry for your loss. It must be really hard for you to know that some people just say, ‘Forget them, they were cops.’

I’m sorry you had to go through the things you have gone through. I wish I had some encouraging words to make you feel better but I know it’s hard. But it’ll get better.

It’s Very Sad
When I first found out that four cops were killed, my first thought was: These things happen. But as I put more thought into what happened, I began to think about you – their families – and the fact that these were fathers to their kids and husbands to their wives. It’s very sad that their kids won’t have a father to look up to, and these men won’t be able to watch their kids grow and become adults, and teach those boys how to become men.

I don’t know anything about these men, or even if they were good men, but I feel that no man should ever be removed from his family by the pull of a trigger. I see this as a perfect example of a cowardly man – someone who will kill four fathers because he doesn’t want to deal with the punishment for his actions.

But the sad thing is that I hear people all the time talking about how they want to kill this and that person, but they never say what will be gained by this action, or how it will make them a happy person. A lot of people think that killing the police is the answer to their problems, but it’s not. It only brings more problems. You, their families, should be really proud of the men who risked their lives for people who don’t appreciate it.

This article was previously posted on the New America Media website, March 26, 2009, here.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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