Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011-02-13 "Oscar Grant’s Uncle Reaches Out To East Oakland Youth" from Fox News
OAKLAND, Calif. -- East Oakland is one of the Bay Area’s most violent neighborhoods, but one man is trying to change that by targeting the area’s younger residents.
Cephus Johnson, uncle to the late Oscar Grant, has been working the streets looking to connect with Oakland’s youth. His goal? To empower East Oakland's residents so they can lead crime-free lives.
On Saturday, the Oscar Grant Foundation launched a day of empowerment and opportunity. The event was held in the East Oakland Youth Development Center. Johnson said he connected with services Oakland teenagers may not seek out on their own, such as job training programs and signing up for college tours.
“We have to get to the heart and soul of the issue within in the community,” Johnson said. “By going through this process there is a beginning of empowerment within themselves.”
Javier Niceler of Hayward volunteered at Saturday’s event, but he once sought help from Johnson’s foundation.
Niceler said he once spent time in prison for burglary and assault on an officer. “Either prison was going to make me or break me. It broke me,” he said.
Once out of prison, Niceler said the foundation opened his eyes to another world and provided him with direction.
“Now I can live my life as an adult and be successful and know that when my kids grow up that’s not the type of life they’ll want to live,” he said.

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