This guest post was written by Christopher Waters, a North Oakland resident and founder of the Nomad Café. He serves on numerous boards, committees and community groups in Oakland.
In the early morning hours of Monday, April 25, as Adam Williams and a friend were bringing their Easter Sunday to a close at a late-night establishment near Jack London Square, Adam’s life was brought to a sudden end by a gunman who opened fire on innocent customers with an automatic weapon. Adam was 22.
Adam was well-known and loved by Peralta Elementary School students and families. Until his death, he worked at P.E.A.C.E., Peralta’s after-school program. He is described by his supervisor, Sherice Tyler, as “a responsible, caring, and professional young man,” and by Peralta’s Principal, Rosette Costello, as “a very peaceful, very generous and positive person committed to making the best of his life.” He was a role model to many young Peralta students, many of whom remained in touch with him after they had moved on to middle school and beyond.
Adam’s own son, Amari Williams, is 4 years old and will be celebrating his 5th birthday on May 21. Adam and his family had been hoping to have Amari attend Peralta next school year. The impact of Adam’s death on this and many other family decisions will only be determined over time, but it is still distinctly possible that Amari will be in Kindergarten at Peralta next year.
Adam’s mother, June Edwards Wilson, is a long-time member of Peralta’s support staff, and her husband Prince Wilson is a former Peralta custodian. They met and fell in love at Peralta, and many members of the Peralta community celebrated with them at their wedding. Prince subsequently suffered a debilitating stroke and the community responded with love and support. Prince’s recovery was a blessing to the family but ongoing health issues continue to put an economic strain on the family. This tragic, senseless and premature loss of June’s son adds an unspeakable emotional burden to the family. With no contingency available to cover the unplanned cost of funereal arrangements and other related family needs (including shifting roles and responsibilities that allow June and Prince to spend more time supporting Amari), the financial burden threatens to overwhelm the family again as well.
We are asking the community to make a concrete gesture of support by contributing funds. No amount is too great or small. This tragic violence has sent ripples through our community; we hope to join together as a community to create a ripple of our own that says we respond to violence with love, and that we always take care of our loved ones and those who act as caregivers in our community.
Our Fundraising Goal
The Federal Trade Commission states that “a traditional funeral, including a casket and vault, costs about $6,000. Extras like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards or limousines can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line.” No-frills funeral arrangements can be made (with proper advocacy from those in a state of mind to negotiate) for $2,000-3,000. We have set a modest goal of $3,500. Add to that the 4% fee that Indiegogo takes if we reach our fundraising goal, and bank processing fees of up to 3%, and the total is $3,745 (our stated goal, though we invite you to help us exceed that goal by any amount). If we do not reach our goal, Indiegogo takes 9% of the total funds raised (plus up to 3% for bank processing fees), and June and Prince and Adam’s family will at least have some funds to offset the total cost of the burial and bereavement-related expenses.
We have established a rapid 10-day fundraising goal for obvious reasons. Please consider donating now, in any amount large or small.
Heartfelt thanks to the 79 (and counting) people — some not even from Northern California — who have generously donated to this deserving cause in support of our friend Adam and his bereaved family. Within 12 hours of the launch of this campaign, we exceeded our initial fundraising goal. But please don’t stop now! Funerals and related family arrangements are very expensive, and Adam and his family deserve far better than a “no-frills” funeral. There are many more needs to be met for Adam’s family right now. Please also keep your loving comments coming — rest assured they will be delivered to the family, and our sentiments will buoy them in these first tragic days and weeks.
Other Ways You Can Help
Please share this information to your family, friends and networks who may be willing to help. You can use the convenient share tools on the campaign’s Indiegogo page to post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, email your friends, and/or embed the link onto your own websites.