OAKLAND -- District 4 Councilmember and Oakland mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf will continue her Safe Oakland Speaker Series with forums scheduled Sunday and June 22 at the Impact Hub in downtown Oakland.

"I really want to continue to have a community dialogue about safety in Oakland," Schaaf said. "We have an incredibly educated citizenry. When we engage them, we will be more effective. All cities have become safer when their leadership has a unified vision."

The first dialogue in the series is titled "Safety Is a Civil Right!" It will feature Connie Rice, a nationally renowned civil rights litigator who cofounded the Advancement Project with Susan Lee, which was credited with dramatically helping to reduce crime in Los Angeles.

"I believe Los Angeles has many lessons for Oakland," Schaaf said. "It has similar demographics and geography to Oakland and reduced violent crime by 81 percent (and property crime by 68.5 percent) while coming out of consent decree similar to Oakland. They are a city that I am really studying because Los Angeles can really be a road map for Oakland. I would love to see an 81 percent decline in crime for Oakland."

Rice and Lee will share their story of how their project played a big role in reducing crime in Los Angeles through improving police-community relations and supporting education, including aiding in the expansion of preschool programs and the creation of new schools in the Los Angeles area.

They will be joined by panelists for discussion, including state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee; David Muhammad, former chief probation officer for Alameda County and the deputy commissioner of New York City's department of probation; and Sean Whent, Oakland's police chief.

"The series started with a big focus on police, but we are trying to look at the full spectrum of intervention," Schaaf said. "As part of our safety in Oakland, delving into schools is an important part of the conversation for preventing violence and creating a safe city."

The June 22 forum, entitled "Oakland's Back to School Blueprint," will focus on how to keep students safe in school and prepare them to graduate from high school.

Panelists for this forum will include David Kakishiba, Oakland Unified School District president and executive director of the East Bay Asian Youth Center; Kareem Weaver, the executive director of New Leaders, Bay Area; Geoffrey Godfrey, the executive director of Oakland's California Youth Outreach; Demetria Huntsman, the program coordinator at Youth Alive's Teens on Target; and Junious Williams, the chief executive officer for Urban Strategies Council.

"I think the series is empowering because it shows that it can be done," Schaaf said.

"Cities can go from being dangerous to safe. It's time that Oaklanders stop accepting that crime is some form of urban tax.

Hearing successes in other cities empowers and motivates them to ask for more."

Both forums are free and will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday and June 22 at Impact Hub, 2323 Broadway.

For more information about these events, go to www.safeoakland.com.

FYI
What: Safe Oakland Speaker Series
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, "Safety Is a Civil Right!" which will examine how Los Angeles reduced violent crime; 4 to 6 p.m. June 22, "Oakland Back-to-School Blueprint," which will look at how schools can keep all students safe and ready to graduate
Where: Impact Hub, 2323 Broadway
Cost: Free
Information: 510-238-7004, email bstoffmacher@oaklandnet.com or www.safeoakland.com