Did you know that Oakland’s Guardian Angels chapter is led by someone with deep ties to Montclair? Christina Fernandez worked for 17 years as a pharmacy technician at Longs Drugs, until last year. She then signed up for the Angels and became their first Oakland chapter leader.
“To me, the Guardian Angels were like superheroes, out there to protect you, fighting crime. I used to look up to them,” explained Fernandez to Inside Bay Area. “Once people see them, they walk away. I believe our presence in Oakland is starting to have an effect.”
The Guardian Angels have received a lot of attention by Oaklanders lately, as a group that can help protect citizens and keep things calm. They are seen by Oakland government as a positive force, to fill in policing gaps. They are also looking for patrol volunteers now.
(Sorry, that recruitment video is no longer on YouTube, as of December 2008)
Angels were first deployed to Grand Lake last year, at the request of shopkeepers. With the recent spate of restaurant heists on Piedmont, Rockridge and elsewhere, they have been asked to expand their patrols. Most recently, the Angels have begun weekend duty in Rockridge.
The Montclair Village Association (MVA) has invited them to patrol during Montclair’s Jazz & Wine Festival on September 7th. Roger Vickery, MVA Director, said “when you see them at the Jazz Festival, you’ll be impressed with how they conduct themselves, both as helpful ambassadors for the Festival and as maintainers of order.”
Vickery noted “how dedicated and sincere [Christina] and her Angels are in trying to bring order to our City. Her husband is on duty in Iraq and when she says she is ‘beginning to take it personally’ she speaks from the frustration of seeing crime and disorder here while her family is making sacrifices on our behalf.”
Since the Angels are a volunteer organization, they need help to buy sleeping bags, uniforms and other basic items. Donations can be made by reaching Christina and her group: 5375 Walnut St, Oakland, 94619 or 510-459-9566.