Former A’s pitcher Dave Stewart and former Giants manager Dusty Baker will be guest speakers at a Dec. 12 fundraiser to benefit an Oakland non-profit organization that helps families who have lost loved ones to violence.
The 6th Annual Purple Gala, taking place at the Jack London Aquatic Center in Oakland, will benefit “1,000 Mothers To Prevent Violence,” a group that assists grieving families with basic needs such as grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and grief support.
The organization was formed in 2004 by Lorrain Taylor, who lost her 22-year-old twin sons, Albade and Obadiah, to a drive-by shooting in Oakland in 2000. She now dedicates her life to helping others cope with the same type of tragedy, and her passion has inspired A’s team members and administrators to get involved.
“Lorrain is a pretty remarkable woman,” said A’s public relations director Bob Rose, who volunteers with the organization. “For anyone who meets her, she just has that presence about her and she makes you feel better. She took something that was a terrible and nightmarish experience that she’ll never forget, and she turned it into a very positive endeavor.”
Last season, members of the A’s bullpen instituted a program in which they present a check every month to help a community-minded cause. The first recipient was “1,000 Mothers to Prevent Violence,” and Taylor was honored in a pregame ceremony.
“Knowing her determination, and what she had to go through personally, it was pretty easy for us as a bullpen to want to stand up for such a worthy cause,” A’s reliever Jerry Blevins said. “Lorrain is an easy person to get behind and want to help out.”
Rose didn’t meet Taylor personally until a few weeks later at an event in Hayward. After hearing Taylor talk about helping others cope with loss, Rose and his wife Sherree decided to get involved.
“These are people really in need, and once you’ve been a parent it even resonates in a deeper way,” he said.
Rose, who also worked in the Giants’ P.R. department for several years, used his connections to get Stewart and Baker for the Purple Gala fundraising dinner. Stewart was a four-time 20-game winner with the A’s and is an Oakland native. Baker managed the Giants from 1993-2002 and still has Bay Area ties.
Taylor, honored by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 most influential African-Americans in the country, also will speak at the event as will Shantee Baker, a 1,000 Mothers volunteer who lost her daughter to a stabbing in Oakland last December.
Dignitaries from the Oakland Police and Fire departments will be acknowledged, including a survivor and law enforcement officer of the year. Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased by calling 510-583-0100 or emailing Mothers1000@aol.com.
For more information about “1,000 Mothers to Prevent Violence” or the Purple Gala, go to www.1000mothers.org.