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Oakland youth organization’s van repeatedly vandalized

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – An Oakland nonprofit centered around youth and community programs says they’ve had their van broken into four times in just the past two months.     

The latest case of vandalism happened just days ago. The organizer of “Brown Girls Climbing” says a lot of kids and families depend on her program to help them get included in outdoor adventures, and their van is essential to that mission.

She believes the broken windows are another example of neglect and flagrant crime in Oakland.  It just keeps happening.

“It’s been really, really hard,” said Emily Taylor, who runs Taylored Fit Solutions, which includes Brown Girls Climbing. “I’m gonna be honest with you. This summer has been the hardest summer that I’ve had.”

Brown Girls Climbing describes itself as a youth adventure team for Black people, indigenous people, and other people of color. Their van parked in the Pill Hill area of Oakland has been vandalized or broken into four times in the past two months.

In one case, the windows were blown out when the van was parked near a portajohn that somehow burst into flames. These setbacks have hurt the group that uses it to get the kids to the outdoors.

“We’re already in a situation where we’re in Oakland and we deal with a lot of violence, but it’s starting to get really, really scary,” Taylor said.

Taylor says city leaders and the police department need to do more about crime.

“There’s a lack of services. There’s a lack of do anything and try anything here in Oakland. And I would also say there’s a lack of foot patrol,” she said.

According to Taylor, the latest broken window was a $700 repair job. She’s now decided it’s time to move the van into storage, which will cost thousands each year.

The group has no plans of stopping as they’re gearing up for their fall program. Taylor just wants whoever is committing these crimes to know how important this group is to the community.

“It’s our community that we’re hurting. It’s my kids that we’re hurting,” she said.

Brown Girls Climbing has a fundraising effort right now underway to help pay for the $5,000 annual storage costs. There’s also a documentary being made to showcase Emily Taylor and her work with Brown Girls Climbing.

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