Monday, February 11, 2008


I feel like the news in Oakland has been dominated by a rising number of homicides. Although a lot are gang-related, some have just been really sad and totally bizarre.

This is a photograph of Raynisha Spencer, 18, who is a student at Edwards Shands Adult School in Oakland, Calif. She (and other classmates) came to school yesterday morning to be greeted with the news that her favorite and most influential professor, John Dennis, had been murdered over the weekend. Dennis had taught at three different higher education schools (all at the same time) throughout the Bay Area and was known for his enthusiasm and passion for caring for his students. He was killed in his home Saturday night and then driven to a beach. An officer pulled over the car and saw that an arm was poking out from a blanket and called for re-enforcement. Spencer says, "I just can't believe that someone would kill such a wonderful person." She continues, "Dr. D instilled passion for writing poetry in me and for learning, he made me want to come to school, and now I feel like that passion is gone." Photo by Alison Yin

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