Antioch Councilwoman, community leaders, residents participate in Sycamore neighborhood Walk Against Violence

Participants Walk Against Violence on Manzanita Way and Lemontree Way in Antioch’s Sycamore neighborhood on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Photos (left) and video screenshot (right) by Allen D. Payton

To get residents if they “see something, say something” and to “reimagine Antioch as a safe place”

Torres-Walker takes swipes at former Councilwoman Motts, former Chief Brooks about gun violence program, Motts responds, email exchange posted on Facebook refutes accusation against Brooks

By Allen D. Payton

A Walk Against Violence was held in Antioch’s neighborhood with the city’s historically highest crime rate on Saturday, Feb. 22 to get residents to say something if they see something. Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, in whose District 1 the neighborhood is located, joined leaders of other community organizations including Bonified Sisterhood, 100 Years, and Mom’s Demand Action, and residents in walking up and down the sidewalks, beginning at Contra Loma Estates Park and ending at the Sycamore Square Shopping Center at the corner of Sycamore Road and L Street. (See related article)

They chanted “end all violence, no more silence” as they walked, holding signs with messages including “Love Is Not Violence”, “Violence is a Disease. Let’s Stop the Spread” and “An eye for an eye will only make the world go blind.”

“We want to show some love, show support. We stand against violence but in love and that we care,” said Kibibi Columbus, as the first of several speakers before the walk began. “I want to live and not die. Thank God for men and women like you who do work like this all the time. We want to reimagine Antioch as a safe place.”

Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker speaks to attendees at the Walk Against Violence.

“Kibibi is also part of a community solutions group…to address issues of violence. I’m just excited to be here,” Torres-Walker said. “I intentionally walked in this community when I ran for office because I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid, today.”

She spoke of Alexis Parson and 15-year-old Malik El-Ameen, who were killed in a double homicide in the Sycamore neighborhood last month, as the reason for the walk. The suspect in custody is Malik’s father. (See related articles here and here)

“They were left to rot in their home because no one said anything,” Torres-Walker stated. “If you see something you’ve got to say something. It will save a life.”

“I know it’s because of fear,” she continued. “But the violence is going to continue so why not say something? “Hurt people hurt people and generational pain is what we’re dealing with.”

Councilwoman Torres-Walker speaks.

She then read from prepared remarks saying, “Regional efforts to address violence began in 2016 with the use of AB109 realignment dollars and between 2017 and 2020 over 30 residents were engaged in efforts to reduce violence in Pittsburg and Antioch.”

“After three years of planning, the money dried up, the meetings were cancelled, and the community stopped responding. Shame on us,” Torres-Walker continued. “March 10th, 2020 I reached out to then-Councilmember Joy Motts, then-Chief Brooks, and school board member Ellie Householder in an effort to get the city to apply for CalVIP (California Violence Intervention and Prevention) funding, totaling $9 million to get out a head of the violence we are all experiencing today. But no. Joy Motts never responded to my emails and Chief Brooks not only denied that there was even a problem and never even considered applying for these funds.”

However, that’s not completely accurate as information posted on the councilwoman’s official Facebook page refute her claim about Brooks. Please see below both Motts’ response and that information.

“Back then, the state identified Antioch as seven or more homicides and a homicide rate at least 25% higher than the statewide homicide rate,” she added. “Not alarming but still significant.”

Pastor Damon Owens of Genesis Church speaks at the Walk Against Violence.

“This year with the support of Moms Demand Action and Every Town, the City of Antioch applied for a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the BSCC (California Board of State and Community Corrections) to combat gun violence,” Torres-Walker stated.” According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 32.9% of California women and 27.3% of California men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. In 2007, there were 174,649 domestic violence-related calls to law enforcement; many other incidents went unreported. 40% of reported incidents involved weapons. Between 2009 and 2011, while other types of homicides decreased, domestic violence fatalities in California increased by 11%. Domestic violence homicides comprise 11.8% of all California homicides. According to the Family Crisis Center one in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.”

“Important to remember and lift up the fact that communities impacted by violence have essential expertise about what produces safety, what constitutes accountability, and what facilitates healing,” she continued. “I believe that any work to reduce the cycle of violence in our community must be deeply rooted in the wisdom, power, and engagement of the people whose lives are most at stake. Every last one of us must be involved and make sure that those at the center issue of violence are a part of the solution equation.”

Members of Moms Demand Action participate in Saturday’s Walk Against Violence.

Nina Carter, founder of Bonified Sisterhood spoke next saying, “I moved to Antioch in 2003. I was a Hairdresser. Moving from Oakland was a culture shock for me and my three sons. There were a lot of services not available in Antioch. There were not any services for inner city youth in this community. That’s what made me open my program for the youth.”

She’s a first-responder for homicide families, Carter shared.

“I’m located at 2008 A Street. We have provided cars for people. We hold grief groups for women who have lost their children,” she continued. A lot of things I do are spirit led and faith based…for impacting this community for services we need…to change the narrative how African-American, high needs families that have been forgotten about, so we can learn to police our communities.”

Michele Sinnott with Moms Demand Action spoke briefly saying, “No one should have to live like this. No one should have to die like this. We are a huge fan of Tamisha Walker and Nina Carter. We offer grief support for anyone affected by gun violence. We’re here because we care.”

“What if we circumvented the problem before the cycles of violence happen?” asked Pastor Damon Owens of Genesis Church. “We planted our church over here” in the Sycamore neighborhood because of the high unemployment rate, there.

Owens said he owns three Dickey’s BBQ Pit restaurants, where he provides jobs to people he works with.
He spoke of World Impact, a 50-year-old ministry, which according to their website, empowers urban leaders and partners with local churches to reach their cities with the Gospel” in “communities of poverty”.

“The gospel’s got to be lived out, right here in the streets,” he stated challenging other ministers to get involved.

“We’re looking for transitional housing for people coming out of prison…and our foster youth coming out of foster care,” Owens added.

Interim City Manager Con Johnson was in attendance, meeting and speaking with others, and remained during the speeches, but left prior to when the walk began.

The participants then walked north on Manzanita Way, east on Sycamore Drive, then south and east on Lemontree Way, then north on L Street to the Sycamore Square Shopping Center at the corner of Sycamore Drive, which has been the sight of criminal activity. It’s also where Mayor Lamar Thorpe held a press conference in response to Torres-Walker’s request for four more police officers to be added to the budget to patrol that neighborhood. Thorpe would only commit to more overtime for current officers on the force, blamed the business and property owners for the crime, and threatened to tear down the shopping center. (See related articles here and here)

LeJon Aka Fahim and Patrick Scott of 1 Hundred Years in Richmond participated in the Walk Against Violence.

During the walk two of three founders of 100 Years Enterprise, Patrick Scott and LeJon Aka Fahim spoke of their non-profit business based in Richmond and named for the 100 years that they collectively spent in prison.

“We go to juvenile hall. We go to continuation schools to reach at-risk youth and teach them to reacclimate and try to get them from making early death decisions.”

“We have a center…we mentor, we’re about to start a STEM program, there for the kids,” Aka Fahim said. “We like to call it kids with a lot of opportunity. It’s all about servitude and it’s all about giving and letting everyone know whatever their calling is to run to it, don’t run from it. As long as it’s positive. That’s what we’re doing. We’re just letting everyone know you can change, and it starts with a thought. That’s what 100 Years is about. But it’s bigger than that. It’s all about bringing people together with love.”

“You can find us on, on YouTube 100 Years Enterprise. Check us out,” Scott mentioned. “We have podcasts and everything on there, as well as our website where we give consultations, and one-on-ones for at-risk youth and return to citizens.”

Asked if they’re going to do anything in Antioch, they both responded, “Yes.”

“That’s why we’re here,” Scott stated.

“As long you bring us in, we’re coming,” Aka Fahim added.

Motts Responds to Torres-Walker’s Accusation

In response to Torres-Walker’s comment about former Councilwoman Joy Motts never responding to Torres-Walker’s emails, Motts wrote, “I have no recollection of ever receiving an email from Ms. Walker during my time on Council.  I have nothing on my personal email from her and unfortunately do not have the ability to research my former Council email. What I do know is that all emails from constituents, either I responded to, or were forwarded to the City Manager for response and consideration, or direction to staff.”

Posts of Emails with Brooks on Torres-Walker’s Facebook Page Refute Her Claim

Post of a portion of the emails between Torres-Walker and city officials on her official Facebook page on Feb. 27, 2021. Screenshot.

Torres-Walker’s posted on her official Facebook page on Feb. 27, 2021, her email conversation with Chief Brooks about the CalVIP grant which shows that he was already working on pursuing the grant right as the COVID situation hit in mid-March 2020.

“Again want to acknowledge at this moment families and individuals in our community that have been impacted by gun-related violence not just in the past few days but over the last few years this to[o] must be addressed with credible violence prevention strategies, resources, and good public policy.

Since the death of my brother in 2005 who was shot 23 times coming home from work in the city of Richmond [I] have been committed to fighting gun-related violence in particular and making sure that no one else has to lose their life to this very unnatural experience and their families do not have to suffer as a result of inaction from our local elected officials who could invest in credible violence prevention solutions that can get at the root cause of gun violence in our communities.

I as a resident have for the past 4 years been working with Community groups, the office of Reentry and Justice for Contra Costa County, Pittsburg Police Department, Antioch Police officers, and local ceasefire efforts to try to get our local elected officials here in the city of Antioch to buy into strategies to reduce gun violence.

Antioch was warned years ago that the trends of gun violence was approaching our city and that if we didn’t do something right away it will cost us more in the end in the form of human lives and resources. This call to action fell on deaf ears.

See my correspondence below regarding issues of gun violence early last year and the response from our Antioch police chief as well as then school board member Ellie Householder.

My email: 03/10/2020

Hello City council Members Wilson, Motts, and Chief Brooks

David Muhammad and the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) are in the early stages of exploring a potential violence prevention and intervention efforts to assist us in Antioch. To my understanding they have made many attempts to partner with our leaders in public office and public safety for this great opportunity with very little success.

As many of you may already know our police department is understaffed even and violence with firearms are 50% higher this year than it was last year. Antioch is on the BSCC (Board of state and community corrections) list of cities that needs support in this area and I agree considering recent events. 1.5 million more or less is not enough but it’s a start the RFP for CAL VIP has been released. See attachment.

I am hoping that there is a strong interest in applying for funding and partnering with NICJR. Here are a few important dates that you all should be aware of. March 13, 2020 is the deadline for city departments or CBO to submit a letter of intent. I strongly suggest the city submit a letter with NICJR as a key thought partner. April 10, 2020 is the deadline to submit the full application.

We hope to hear from you all as soon as possible.

More on Cal VIP:

Formerly known as the California Gang Reduction, Intervention & Prevention (CalGRIP) grant, the State Legislature established the California Violence Intervention & Prevention (CalVIP) grant in FY 2017-18. CalVIP encouraged jurisdictions to develop local approaches that would meet the diverse needs of each community.

Until FY 2017-18, eligibility for the CalVIP grant was open only to California cities. By law, cities were required to pass through a minimum of 50 percent of the funds to one or more community-based organizations (CBOs). With the FY 2017-18 Budget, eligibility was extended to include CBOs who can now apply directly for CalVIP funds.

For eleven years, the CalVIP grant was funded annually at $9 million. With the enactment of the FY 2019-20 Budget, a one-time appropriation of $21 million was included, for a total appropriation of $30 million. Of that amount, the FY 2019-20 State Budget Act calls for the BSCC to retain five percent ($1.5 million) for administrative operations and $1 million is earmarked for the City of Los Angeles. The remaining $27.5 million must be distributed through a competitive grant process, administered by the BSCC staff and led by the members of the CalVIP Executive Steering Committee.

Grant Period

Successful proposals will be funded for a three-year grant project period commencing on July 1, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2023.

However, an additional six months (July 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023) will included in the term of the contract for the sole purposes of:

1) Finalizing and submitting a required Local Evaluation Report, and

2) Finalizing and submitting a required financial audit.

Eligibility to Apply

AB 1603 limits eligibility to cities in California that are disproportionately impacted by violence and the community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve them. Either the city itself or a department within the city may serve as the applicant.

Eligible applicants may not submit more than one proposal.

However, any applicant may apply as a direct grantee and may also be listed as a subgrantee on a different proposal. If an applicant intends to apply directly and is also a subgrantee on another proposal, the proposals cannot be duplicative and must fund separate and unique activities.

As defined by AB 1603, a city is disproportionately impacted by violence if any of the following are true:

(1) The city experienced 20 or more homicides per calendar year during two or more of the three calendar years immediately preceding the grant application.

(2) The city experienced 10 or more homicides per calendar year during two or more of the three years prior to the grant application and had a homicide rate that was at least 50% higher than the statewide homicide rate during two or more of the three calendar years immediately preceding the grant application.

(3) The applicant otherwise demonstrated a unique and compelling need for additional resources to address the impact of homicides, shootings, and aggravated assaults in the applicant’s community.

(Penal Code, Section 14131, subd. (e).)

Cheif (sic) Brooks response: 03/11/202

Good morning Tamisha,

It appears perhaps you are not fully informed of the current situation involving the Antioch Police Department and our efforts to participate in the Cal VIP grant. We have already had several discussions with the Office of Reentry & Justice, met with David Muhammad on January 24 (along with Pittsburg PD), and have another meeting scheduled on March 17 to discuss our grant application strategies. Additionally, the Antioch Police Department has already submitted a letter of intent to the BSCC.

Therefore, I’m a bit confused with your statement you’ve had ‘very little success’ trying to partner with us. I’m also curious as to how you determined ‘violence with firearms are 50% higher this year than it was last year’ in Antioch?

Partnerships and collaboration such as this depend on trust and open lines of communication. I hope this is something that can be accomplished if we move forward jointly in these efforts.

Ellie Householder even responded as a School board member: 03/11/2020

Tamisha, Chief Brooks, et. al.,

I appreciate all the work you have done to address safety issues in Antioch. As a Board member, I am interested in helping and being involved in any way that is helpful and appropriate. Please let me know if there are meetings I can attend or other ways I can support ya’lls efforts.”


Post on Torres-Walker’s official Facebook page on Dec. 15, 2021. Screenshot.

In another post on her official Facebook page on Dec. 15, 2021, Torres-Walker wrote about the CalVIP grant program, “We can save lives and advance peace in Antioch. #FundPeace

In 2019 Antioch was identified as a city that qualified for CalVIP funds to invest in violence prevention and intervention efforts that would have curb[ed] gun-related violence in our city but the leadership in the city then didn’t rise to the occasion with the sense of urgency we needed to compete for millions.

In 2019 the funding was roughly $30 million again Antioch has an opportunity to advance peace and reduce gun-related violence through applying for CalVIP funds which through the efforts of Moms demand Action and Every Town has been increased to $209 million this cycle.

Antioch is worth the investment and can access up to 6 million in funding to combat gun violence.

I hope that our City leaders, new city manager, police chief, and community groups pull together to fund peace in Antioch.”


APD Participates in National Gun Violence Prevention Program

As previously reported, last year, the Antioch Police Department was selected for the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Public Safety Partnership program that focuses on gun violence prevention, for which current Interim Police Chief Tony Morefield applied at Brooks’ direction. (See related article)

the attachments to this post:

Walk Against Violence 1 Hundred Years

Antioch Walk Against Violence 02262022
Antioch Walk Against Violence 02262022

T Torres-Walker official FB post 12-15-21

T Torres-Walker official FB post 02-27-21

Walk Against Violence Tamisha Torres-Walker

Walk Against Violence Pastor Damon Owens

Walk Against Violence Kibibi Columbus

Walk Against Violence TT-W speaks to attendees

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