May 15, 2013 by mishagabrielle
Recently, Bop members Nate and Nyla, faced a reality that far too many of Oakland’s youth do. Losing a friend to senseless community violence is something many of Oakland’s youth say they’ve experienced and seems to be a routine “part of life” here.
On May 5, one of BOP’s youth members, Nate, and his cousin Nyla, received word that his close friend and basketball teammate, had been gunned down near his East Oakland home. Olajuwon Clayborn, only 17 years old, was reportedly a high-achieving student and star basketball player for Castlemont High School, but his life was ended on that Sunday night.
It goes without saying that the death of Clayborn is a loss to those who knew him and a loss to our community altogether. There have been 34 homicides in Oakland already this year. That means an average of 2 homicides per week, and those most at risk are Black and Latino.
BOP youth member, Nyla, is not only Nate’s cousin, but she also lives in the same neighborhood as Clayborn, where he was shot. “I didn’t know him personally, but I would hear Nate talk about him all the time,” says Nyla about her relationship to Clayborn. “I heard the gun shots and realized they were close.”
After seeing her cousin experience the loss of a good friend, Nyla was left asking ‘Why’? Why are people killing each other for what seems like no valid reason? In response to the tragedy, Nyla wrote an essay where she reflects on Assata Skaur’s poem, “Affirmation”, and how she feels about violence in her community.
Berkeley Community Remembers Slain Teen