Reverend Aaron Shumake, Sr. | Interview 1 | October 27, 2006

Oral History Center, UC Berkeley

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0:00 - Early life, family, and the move to California

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Keywords: canneries; Ford Motor plant; Lake Providence, Louisiana; Richmond, California; shipyards

Subjects: Extended family members move to Richmond Father and uncles employed by Ford Motor plant Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant in Richmond, California Parents' move from Lake Providence, Louisiana, to Richmond, California

2:53 - Port Chicago

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Keywords: Concord Naval Weapons Stations; Port Chicago; Port Chicago Mutiny (book)

Subjects: Exposure to realities of racial discrimination and danger Father as acquainted with Port Chicago "mutineers"

3:54 - Maternal grandmother's influence

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Keywords: canneries; Eliza Baker; grandmother's influence; religion; spirituality; Sunday night dinners

Subjects: Father as mechanic Grandmother's response to the threat of Russian bomb His religious calling and inspiration Inspired by grandmother's inner peace Mother as athlete and homemaker Mother worked at canneries Significant time spent with grandmother Sunday night dinners with grandmother

7:24 - Accepting God's calling

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Keywords: baptist; destiny; God's calling; reverend; submission to God

Subjects: An interaction with a woman on a plane that confirmed to him that he was to be a man of God His grandmother's role in his religious journey National Baptist conference in Nashville, TN 1996 On why he resisted his calling to become a Reverend

12:17 - How his experiences have shaped his ministry

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Keywords: gospel; peace

Subjects: Death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ Externalizing his calling What ministry means to him

14:21 - The impact of travel

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Keywords: international travel; racism

Subjects: How travel has benefited him and why he would like others in his community to experience it On how international travel broadened his perspectives On how travel helped him cope with racism in the US

15:42 - Younger years

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Keywords: associate minister; family training; Louisiana cultural influences; North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church; siblings; work ethic

Subjects: Being modeled collaboration vis-a-vis parents' interactions Childhood home in Richmond Knowing how to say no Not being easily led into situations On never hearing his parents speak negatively about each other despite divorce The importance of integrity, compassion, and non judgement in his culture The value of education and work

19:44 - Educational and vocational experiences

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Keywords: Contra Costa College; CSU East Bay; CSU Hayward; track

Subjects: Being self-taught Grade schools attended Post-high school career trajectory The importance of completing one's education

22:03 - Movement to mobilize against violence in Richmond

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Keywords: AC Transit; Black-on-Black Crime Summit; clergy mobilization against violence in Richmond; economic justice; June 4, 2005; low-income communities of color; poor quality of education; Reverend Newsome; Richmond City Council; sit-in for peace; vigil; violence in Richmond

Subjects: Clergy speaking to city council Connecting education, employment opportunities, community resources, and recreation with high crime rate East Palo Alto as a best practice model Faith community leadership on the homicide issue Four funerals in one week of men under age 25 His thoughts on why the violence rate in Richmond is high Homicides in Richmond June 4, 2005 Black-on-Black Crime Summit Neglect of imprisoned peoples On the passivity of Richmond's leadership in responding to homicides

30:52 - Tent City

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Keywords: Day 33; dialogue; partnership between faith community and the broader community; police presence; tent city

Subjects: 45 days of 0 homicide reached due to high police presence On how young people in the city are being affected on a day-to-day basis by gang rivalries Shift to strong community presence versus police presence Tent City as a place of dialogue and youth expressing frustrations The role of the church in the community in keeping the peace Wanting to convene community members of North Richmond, Central and the Southside

34:31 - Challenges in community collaboration

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Keywords: supporting young people in Richmond; tent city; youth outreach

Subjects: Empathizing with youth How he interrupted judgments of youth by church community Making sure the youth are given room to participate Reaching out to youth and how they have responded The importance of not pushing away the youth necessary to the peace-keeping process

37:51 - Scripture in relation to Tent City

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Keywords: Holy Spirit; lost youth; scripture; youth outreach

Subjects: Fear of the unknown as a barrier On saving those who are lost On the responsibility to create an environment helpful to youth Paying attention to what young people are saying


WILMOT: Nadine Wilmot with Reverend Shumake on October 27, 2006 for the Regional Oral History Office. Good afternoon.

SHUMAKE: Good afternoon.

WILMOT: We usually start off these things by asking when and where you were born.

SHUMAKE: Born here in San Pablo, California, actually at what was formerly known as Brookside Hospital, known today as Doctor's Medical Center.

WILMOT: And, can you tell me your parents’ names, and where were they from?

SHUMAKE: David and Annie Shumake. They were from Lake Providence, Louisiana.

WILMOT: And, how long had they been in this area?

SHUMAKE: They moved to Richmond during the early '50s, around '55 I believe it was, 1955. And they came out primarily to get work in the shipyards.


WILMOT: What did they tell you about this movement from Louisiana to Richmond?

SHUMAKE: Well, it was centered around employment opportunities. There apparently wasn't a lot of opportunity there, and they saw opportunity here on the West Coast. So my father and mother moved out here and they set up shop here locally. And at the time, once they got established, then they start sending back for my father's brothers, who came out, and they all came out and stayed with them until they got employment and then purchased homes themselves. So that was interesting, to think that they all lived in one house together at one time was amazing, and it's something that unfortunately we don't see a lot of today, with families coming together like that.

WILMOT: And that was when they were here in Richmond?

SHUMAKE: Yes, yes.

WILMOT: So, tell me a little bit more about your family, your extended family, 2:00your aunts and uncles as they came out here as well.

SHUMAKE: Right, right, well, the thing that I remember the most is how together they were as a family. They tended to do things a lot together. I remember as a little boy brought up here in Richmond, right here in the Iron Triangle as a matter of fact. My mother still lives in the house where I grew up, which I think is really amazing. She actually gets around a lot better than some of these 25-26 year old women in the city. But I remember that connection. I remember them working at the Ford Motor Plant, my father and my uncle, you see? As a matter of fact, there's a photograph in the Richmond Museum that has a picture of my uncle Richard Shumake. They're working at the Ford Motor Plant when it was here locally. So just hearing stories about that and how they went from working with Ford, my father started working with the Concord Naval Weapon 3:00Station. It's just hearing how dangerous it was working in that environment and hearing stories from the time when they had that huge explosion out there...

WILMOT: Port Chicago.

SHUMAKE: At Port Chicago, right -- how my father had known some of those men and just to hear those experiences and why they refused to go back to work because of the dangerous atmosphere that existed is just fascinating to me.

WILMOT: Did you read that book, the Port Chicago Mutiny by Robert Allen?

SHUMAKE: I haven't read it, no. I haven't read it. Yeah, yeah, so it's been interesting. I mean, they shared some wonderful stories. I think it really gave me a good perspective on what life was like for them when they were growing up, and they saw this as an opportunity, the land of opportunity, if you will, here on the West Coast.

WILMOT: What kind of work did they do in Louisiana? What was their occupation there?

SHUMAKE: My father worked primarily as a mechanic, and my mother attended school 4:00primarily, and did some housekeeping work primarily. She was an athlete. She was a basketball player, so that was her passion, and I still scratch my head when she talks about that, that she played forward and guard. And my mother, a basketball player, right...? So it was phenomenal, yeah.

WILMOT: And your grandparents, did they also make the journey out here or did they stay?

SHUMAKE: My grandmother did. My grandfather actually passed there in Louisiana, so once they came out, I primarily spent a lot of time with my grandmother, because during that time period my mother went to work for the cannery: Hunt's Cannery I think the name of it was. Pretty much everyone around there, particularly the females, worked in the canneries, a lot of them, and I would have to spend time with my grandmother while my mother worked and my father was working. And so yeah, she was a beautiful person, very spiritual woman. I think 5:00that's why I have the love of God instilled in me through her primarily because of her belief of the importance of God being in our lives.

WILMOT: What did that look like in her life?

SHUMAKE: Oh, it was just wonderful. I mean, I can recall a time period where, like most young boys and girls, they grew up in the church and they become teenagers and they tend to start experimenting outside. I can remember a time when I was going back and forth to church, I would always have dinner with my grandmother on Sundays, and I'll never forget sitting in her house, we were watching a segment on 60 Minutes. And they were talking about a nuclear bomb exploding, the great threat of Russia attacking the United States, and I can remember asking her what would she do in the case of a bomb -- you know, Russia 6:00shooting a bomb off on the United States -- and she looked me in the eye and she said, "Baby, I'm not worried about that. The moment it would hit," she said, like that [snaps], she knew that she would be called up to Glory. And what I recall about that was the peace that she had. You see, it didn't matter what kind of threat the government was putting out there, real or imaginary, she wasn't concerned about that because of the faith and the belief she had in God. And I'll never forget that day saying, "That's the kind of peace that I want in my life." You know, and it was then that I really started getting back on track, studying the Word of God, certainly had my moments back and forth running from the calling if you will, but I never forgot that peace. And it doesn't matter 7:00how much money you have, you can't buy that kind of peace. You can't find it in alcohol, and certainly you can't find it in drugs.

WILMOT: Can you tell me your grandmother's name?

SHUMAKE: Eliza Brown.

WILMOT: Eliza Brown, and that's on your mom's side?

SHUMAKE: Yes, my mom's mother.

WILMOT: Okay, and you said running from the calling, so was there a time when you knew that this is what you were going to be doing -- you were to be a reverend?

SHUMAKE: Yeah, I mean growing up we would always have speaking opportunities within the church where we'd have tournaments and things like that taking place, sponsored by the elders of the church, and many would always say, "Andre, you should be a preacher." I'm like, "No, no, no, not me," and as I got older, certainly I didn't want to subscribe or submit, if you will, because I knew the 8:00scrutiny that ministers come up under. You know, the way you walk, the way you talk, who you talk to, where you go, how long you're there -- you know, just crazy kind of scrutiny, and I'm like, "Man, I didn't want any part of that." Plus, I thought I was having fun doing what I was doing. I loved to party and loved to dance, and still dance by the way. I think David danced in the Bible, so I feel good about that. But that was me. I mean, and I just didn't see where the two blended together -- where I have a deeper appreciation for that now, however. But yeah, I just ran from it. I mean, it was like, "No, no, I'm having too much fun. I just don't see myself, you know, giving it up, if you will."

WILMOT: And when did that time come when you said, "Okay, I'm ready to embrace this?"

SHUMAKE: It was an interesting event that occurred in Nashville, Tennessee. Back 9:00in 1996 I was attending a National Baptist Conference and there was a series of events that occurred that basically really spoke to me and to my spirit and to my heart that truly God was calling me to do what I was called to do. And I oftentimes asked other ministers, "How is it that you know you've been called to preach the Word of God?" and they all would tell me, "You'll know." You know, and being somewhat inquisitive, that just wasn't enough for me. So I would go another minister, "How do you know? How do you really know that you've been called to preach the Word of God?" and each one would say, "You'll know," and in Nashville, Tennessee, June 14, 1996, there was a series of incidents that 10:00occurred that truly, truly led me to believe and understand that it was time for me to humble myself and say, "Here I am, Lord. Use me," and it was one of the most humbling experiences I've ever experienced because when you submit, you have no idea where that calling would lead you. I think we as men and women tend to want to be in control of our destiny, making a decision whether you're going to go right or to the left. And when you're called into the ministry, you don't know where that's going to lead you. And so, I can recall feeling so humbled by it, and yet afraid at the same time, afraid to the extent that I didn't share with anyone that on that night in the wee hours of the morning, I had surrendered, if you will, and accepted that call. And I didn't share it with 11:00anyone. We were on the plane about three days later returning from Nashville to California. And I was sitting in an aisle seat in one of the three-row seats on the plane. A little old lady was sitting -- bless her heart -- in the middle. So I was up reading a magazine, and the woman looked over to me to the right and she asked me, she said, "Young man, are you a preacher?" Now keep in mind I had just humbled myself and submitted and accepted that call, and I can recall taking my glasses off and I turned to her and it was like, "Why did you ask me that?" because again, I hadn't said anything to anyone. And she said, "It's just something about you, your presence that makes me feel that you are a man of God." And I cried, a grown man sitting on the plane boohooing, you know? And it 12:00was out of, like, "How does she know?" and for me it was a confirmation. So that's how it all got started.

WILMOT: Wow. When you returned home, then, and you began taking this calling and externalizing it in your life, what did that look like?

SHUMAKE: Well, it was real interesting, because I can recall feeling undone, if you will, I mean recognizing I had had no real professional training in ministry, and feeling somewhat inadequate like, you know, "God, why me?" you know? Why not someone who had spent years in Bible college, if you will, who have gone to seminary? And so I just felt like I just wasn't equipped to do the 13:00job. And while lying in bed one night, about three or four days after I had returned from Nashville, I can recall just raising those questions within myself, and the spirit of God just said to me, "Preach the gospel," you see, and the gospel is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says if you believe that Jesus was the Son of God, that he died for your sins, he was buried, and he rose on the third day, that thou shall be saved. That's the gospel. And for me, it's that simple. That's not a complicated thing, you see? I don't have to go to divinity school or some seminary to share that. 14:00And that's the peace, again. It goes back to that experience with my grandmother. That's the peace that God had given me that night, lying up there, that, "Do that." And for me, ministry is more than bouncing off the walls on Sunday morning. I've always been a person that's been active, outgoing, interacting with different people. I've been blessed to have been able to travel across the world. I've been to several different countries, so I've interacted with people outside of California, outside the United States, and it's sort of broadened my horizons, and it gave me a whole different perspective, you see, and particularly being an African American, some of the experiences that I've had in other countries was just wonderful. I mean, that's something that I pray I'll be able to do in my ministry is get some of these youngsters out of the Bay Area, you know, out of the state, out of the country, let them experience what 15:00it's like in other countries, and just being received warmly. And I think that helped me to come back and deal with some of the racism that still exists within the United States because of the wonderful experiences I had outside the country. And so what that taught me is that not everyone is the same, you see, and that was just a beautiful experience for me to have had that. And it helped me to shape my ministry and what I do now in terms of trying to create an environment where people can thrive: all races, creeds, and colors.

WILMOT: I want to ask you also, I'm going to just go back now to your younger years. You mentioned that you came up in the church. Which church was your family a member of?

SHUMAKE: The North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church.

WILMOT: OK, where you're still --

SHUMAKE: Yeah, still an Associate Minister there.

WILMOT: OK, wow. And I also wanted to ask you, what do you feel that you got of 16:00your culture that is Louisiana, that is more Louisiana than California? I wanted to ask you, what do you feel like you grew up with that always reminds you that your family was from some place else? If that is something that you experience...

SHUMAKE: Well, I think it's a love for people, respect, you know, trying to be someone of integrity and to have compassion for others, not to be judgmental of others, understanding what's in the Bible where it says, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and just a love for humanity. I think it's really helped me. And I grew 17:00up, my parents -- although they separated when I was young, one of the things that I loved them for dearly is that I never heard my mother say anything negative about my father, nor did I ever hear my father say anything negative about my mother. And what I recalled was any time there were situations where they had to come together to take care of business within the household they came together. And I can recollect that as clear in my mind of how they handled their affairs together. And that did a lot for me. So, I wasn't as victimized, I don't believe, as some say kids are when their parents split up. Because I always felt the love that they had for me as well as I felt they may have had for each other. But they just couldn't live together.


WILMOT: Did they both stay in the Richmond area?


WILMOT: They did? Did you have brothers and sisters?

SHUMAKE: Yeah, I have two older brothers and an older sister, so that was interesting in itself, being the baby of the bunch growing up, But there were benefits in that also because I had an opportunity to be exposed to a lot that perhaps some young men or boys don't get exposed to until later in their lives. So it helped me to form opinions about certain things at an early age and to know how to say no and mean no, and how to stand and not be someone that's easily led into situations.

WILMOT: And what was the address of this house that you grew up in?

SHUMAKE: 524 2nd Street in Richmond. And it's still there, and mother dear still residing right there doing the landscaping which she shouldn't be doing that 19:00much of now, but that's her. She's a worker. And that's another aspect that I think I got from them was the value of work and the value of education, and the importance of that. So that meant a lot, and I think unfortunately today in many of our homes, we don't have that because now, I believe, within the past two decades, we've had babies who had babies who were not trained, and so if you weren't trained, then I think it's very difficult to provide the appropriate training that's required in families.

WILMOT: And where did you go to elementary school, high school...?

SHUMAKE: I went to [Peories?] Elementary School, Walter T. Helms Junior High 20:00School, and Richmond High School.

WILMOT: And, when you got out of high school, what did your horizon look like? Were you thinking about going to college? Were you thinking about military? What kind of things were you interested in getting into as far as professionally in your life?

SHUMAKE: Well, I just went on to college and I graduated from Contra Costa College and ran track, because I was into football and track during that time, then transferred from there and went to Cal State Hayward, where we ran track and had a real tough team during that time period. And for me during that time it became a point where I had to get into the work force, and it's a situation where I left with maybe two quarters to complete, and it's still on me now to go back and complete those two quarters, you know, because I just at the time had to go to work and it was commanding. And I often tell young people today, 21:00because of that, don't stop. Continue to get that education, and the importance of doing that. But I've also been one who is pretty much self taught in many ways. But that's something that I just think I need to complete is those two quarters.

WILMOT: For yourself?

SHUMAKE: Yeah, just for myself, right. And that was good. So I've been able to work in a variety of areas. I've done work in the travel industry. I've done work in the law field where I worked as a paralegal, had work where I've been in the real estate industry, a loan officer, account executive, underwriter, so I've had a variety of experiences that I think really helped shape the work that I do now. And many of those backgrounds that I've had, I've been able to call on that experience to do the work effectively that's being done at this point.

WILMOT: Well let's turn now to the Tent City, yeah? Can you tell me what was the 22:00catalyst for the Tent Cities, that is the vigil that was -- we're in day 33?


WILMOT: Yeah, the vigil that was started 33 days ago to kind of draw attention to and cease the violence that is occurring in Richmond.

SHUMAKE: Well, it sort of goes back about two years ago. There was a week that I had here in Richmond where I went to four funerals in one week of young men under the age of 25, and it was at that point that I said, "You know, this is crazy. This madness has got to end." So, I started talking with several clergy and telling them that we need to start attending the city council and saying to the leadership of the city that, one, we have a problem with homicides in the city and that we need to have some form of leadership coming from them to 23:00address this issue because these young men were dying. For me, it was very frustrating because when there's a homicide in the city, I usually get a phone call about it. And so when I respond, I go out on the scene. I'm seeing these young men's brains blown out on the streets, and then I'm there when their mother comes up on the scene and sees their baby boy lying out there with all this blood everywhere, and the hysteria that comes as a result of that. And then to see it happening on a consistent basis, and it appeared back then, two years ago, nothing was being done about it. It was as if, "Well, it's just the way it is. It's always that way. It has been that way in low income communities of color, and that's just the way it is." Well, I submit that it's not the way it is. It's the way that we've allowed it to be. And so we started organizing back then, going to the city and trying to solicit help from the leadership from the current mayor to no avail. So at that point, it became clear that we in the 24:00faith community had to take the leadership on this issue, and so we started hosting town hall meetings last year with the idea that it would culminate in a larger gathering, which it did, on June 4, 2005, which was the Black On Black Crime Summit. And out of that summit came seven different strategies that we decided it was important to implement within the African American community that could ultimately spill over into other communities to solve the problem. So while we had being going through that process, certainly the homicides have continued. We started reaching out and one of the things that we launched at the summit was a Zero Homicide campaign in Richmond. It's a three year campaign, which we just launched starting June of this year, recognizing it will take a variety of strategies to solve the problem, but we are looking at what was done in East Palo Alto as a best practice model of a community that was once 25:00designated the most dangerous city in the United States, how that community came together and formed the appropriate partnerships to solve that problem. And that's what we're attempting to do here in Richmond. What occurred and what led to Tent City recently was there was a shooting that occurred in a mortuary where a family member shot another family member, and at the time the president of the Richmond branch of the NAACP, Reverend Charles Newsome had contacted me and asked had I heard about it. I said, "Yeah, I got the call." He said, "Well, we need to get involved and do something." During that same time period, a gentleman, community activist, gentleman who was raised right here in the city, right in the same area where I was raised, called Mr. Newsome and myself and say, "Hey, I was at the funeral, saw what had happened. We've got to do something." And so it was at that point that Reverend Newsome said, "Well, what 26:00do you guys think about doing a sit-in for peace?" an idea that was similar to what came out of the Civil Rights Movement, where back then they did sit-ins to gain access to public facilities. Our goal was to do a sit-in for peace to save our children, and we came out of that black on black crime summit with a theme of "we want them to live" and that was the theme of the sit-ins. We want our children to live, and to build their capacity around that.

WILMOT: Have you lost people in your family to violence in Richmond?

SHUMAKE: I've had cousins that have been murdered. My own nephew was murdered. However, his murder occurred while being incarcerated on a probation violation where he had a tooth pulled, and they failed to provide him with the antibodies to treat the tooth. It became infected. His whole jaw, neck, and area swole up, 27:00and they transported him. When they finally decided to treat him, they transported him two and a half hours away, from Vacaville to Manteca when they could have sent him 15 minutes away to Vaca Valley Hospital, and so for me, that's all the more reason why these young people want to stay out of the prison system, you see, because the medical neglect is rampant. It's a common practice that occurs within the prison system, and so for them to think that perhaps doing what they do is cool and to wind up in prison is cool: no. You have people that are dying in prison as well, and so for me it's personal to try to detract them or steer them in a different area as opposed to living a life which could ultimately go on to a prison term.


WILMOT: And, why do you think violence is occurring in such a high volume right now in Richmond? What do you think is going on with our young people in particular?

SHUMAKE: A number of reasons. I mean, it begins, I believe, in the home. And we've had situations where our families are devastated. As I indicated, we've had over the past two decades babies who had babies who were not trained. And so, the simple standards that you and I may operate by, they don't operate by those standards. The quality of the education that the kids are receiving, particularly here in the Richmond area, when you look at the elementary schools with the test scores from one to ten, one being the lowest, the elementary schools in this area is one. The middle schools that they are tracked to is a one. The high schools in the area that they are tracked to is a one. That's criminal! And it's been that way. And so you look at a lack of a quality of education. You look at the breakdown within the families, you look at the lack 29:00of recreational activities that we used to have in the city. During the time when I came up, there was so much going on in Richmond where you just got tired because there was so much to do. These youngsters don't have that now when you look at the lack of employment opportunities that's out there. And I think that's one of the reasons why I've gotten involved in the whole social justice movement is around that. We recognize that employment is the key for many of these youngsters to transition out of the lifestyle that they're in. However, you've got to have some reliable transportation to get to these jobs. So when you look at how the region operates, and I think how you take the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is responsible for allocating resources for public transit, where that money is going and how they spend those dollars and how local public transit is AC Transit, which reached into those neighborhoods, 30:00how they're having to cut services and scale back services because they can't get the appropriate funding from the MTC, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. It impacts what's going on in these low income communities of color. So, I've had to get engaged in that process to try to attract dollars into the city of Richmond via AC Transit to provide those services, so those individuals in Parchester and North Richmond can gain access to reliable and affordable transit to get to those jobs. So, it's just one fight on so many different fronts, but what I've learned in the process is that you have to be engaged in the process, and it is a process. It takes time, but you have to have a commitment to do what is right.

WILMOT: It's been about four weeks now of the Tent City. How much further will 31:00it go? How many months -- ?

SHUMAKE: Initially, the idea was that we would only do it for one week, the idea being we wanted to bring on North Richmond, Central, and the South Side together to have these sit ins where they would bring the elders and the young people together to identify what's needed in each respective neighborhood to sustain a movement for peace. What has come out of this, this being day 33, and if nothing else comes out of Tent City, what has come out as an outcome, if you will, is the dialogue that's taken place between the young people in North, Central, and the South side to reach a truce. That's significant, because the individuals in my age group, we're not pulling the trigger. It's the younger men, and what we're hearing, as a result of creating the environment where they can come forth is that they're tired. They're tired of seeing their family members gunned down. 32:00They're tired of seeing their friends gunned down on the street of the city. And they're tired of living in fear, where if a car comes around a corner, they're having to duck, not knowing if someone is going to reach out and fire an automatic weapon. Many of them can't go to the local grocery store. They have to go all out of the way with fear of being shot by a rival set, if you will, a group of guys who may be hanging out in a particular area. They're tired of it, and what Tent City has done: it has created the environment where those young men and women can now come forward and share their frustration, and the fact that they want out. So, day 33, again, we've had two homicides which is two too many, and certainly that's a result of the dialogue that's taken place that's not being publicized, which has enabled us to maintain the level of peace that 33:00we've had. The last time we've experienced such an extended period of time with so few homicides is back in June of 2006, excuse me, June 2005, when we had the call for the state of emergency, where the city of Richmond brought in the highway patrol, the sheriff's department, along with the Richmond Police Department to patrol the streets of the city. And in doing so, they were pulling over cars, confiscating weapons, confiscating drugs, and we experienced 45 days of zero homicides in Richmond: phenomenal. But that was because of a strong police presence, and what you see today taking place is a strong community presence because what we figured out in Richmond is that in order for us to maintain peace, in order for us to reach the goal of zero homicides in the city, around the umbrella in the theme of, "We want them to live," is you have to have 34:00a partnership between the church, the faith community, and the community. The faith community hasn't been able to do it by itself, the community hasn't been able to do it by itself, and certainly we know that the municipalities can't do it, the police and other governmental agencies. So what we figured out in Richmond is that you have to have a sincere partnership between the faith community, and the community, which brings about different challenges in and of itself.

WILMOT: Which are...? What kinds of challenges are you encountering?

SHUMAKE: During the first three days of Tent City at 4th and Macdonald, which is the original site, I spent the first three days intervening with members of the faith community coming in and judging the young men who were participating with us primarily, as opposed to working with them and receiving them on the level where they were. They were putting them down, and basically forcing them out, 35:00and so I had to intervene and say, "Look, when you come across the threshold here, we're not doing business like that. We recognize that we need these young men to be part of this process. Yes, they might be drug dealers. They might even be using drugs. They might even be alcoholics. But we're not here to address that particular issue at this particular time. We're here to stop the killing, and these men are part of that process, and they can play an integral part in making that real in the city of Richmond. So, it was about getting the members of the faith community to recognize that, "Yes, it may be true these men and women may not be what we feel they should be," but also to remember that we too had a past, you see, we all come from somewhere and have done some things in our lives, and so unfortunately what happens is sometimes we can become so heavenly 36:00bound to where we're not earthly good, and so our position in Richmond is that we need everyone at the table. They may not be where we want them to be, but they'll never get there if we keep pushing them away and don't create an environment for them to participate.

WILMOT: And the young people themselves, what has reaching out to them looked like, and also what has been their reactions on a very personal level? Like, how have the young people responded? I noticed when we went to that Tent City, that there were many young people there.

SHUMAKE: They've been waiting on this for a long time, you see, but no one has created the environment for this to happen. And that's all that was needed, for the environment to be created, and that's what Tent City has done. And what we recognize is that we have to listen to them. See, our problem has been, we've been pushing them away. They're not where we feel they ought to be so therefore 37:00we don’t want to have any dialogue with them. It's them against us, and we're saying in Richmond that we are no longer going to do business that way, that we need them. We need to understand and feel their pain, and what their frustrations are, and how can you do that if you don't welcome them to the table, you see? You can't continue to isolate the young people and then criticize them for what they're doing. If you're serious about helping them and turning the situation of violence around in the city, you have to create an environment where those young people are welcome to the table. And like Jesus, you have to reach them where they are, and then you can help elevate them to wherever you feel they should go or be.

WILMOT: You have to be somewhere in five minutes, so just to close out this segment, is there a piece of scripture that is staying with you this week or today that has been on your mind in relation to these events?

SHUMAKE: Simply is this: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but 38:00empowering of love and of a sound mind.” And what that says to me is that fear is something that has kept the church indoors far too long. It's the fear of the unknown, fear of what's out on the streets of the city, and the sad thing is, those are our sons and our daughters. And we are afraid of them, and we know that God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but empowering of love and of a sound mind. And it is with that, that we move forward, recognizing that we have to move in the power of the Holy Spirit and reach out to these young men and bring them in, because they're lost. And I believe the Jesus that I serve came to seek and to save those who were lost. You see, so we just need to be mindful of that and pay attention to what our young people are saying, because they're 39:00tired. They've experienced a lot. They're worn out, and we have to create the environment to make that real.

WILMOT: Okay, let's pause here, Okay?


[End of Interview 1]