Sprinkles of the color purple, smiles, and hugs abound. Through the tears, the services are less like a homegoing and more like a celebration. It seems that’s exactly what she would have wanted. Like the cherished Tinker Bell necklace she wore, Kimberly Harvey is remembered showering blessings and love amongst those she knew, even if it was just with a smile. West Oakland was her heart. Yet, the same streets she loved and revered were where ones that would senselessly claim her 29 year old life on March 26, 2013.
Kimberly Channel Antonette Harvey was born March 10, 1984 to Charmaine Epps and Kimberly Harvey. The youngest of three, “Kimmie Fresh” was indeed that – fresh – decked out in a plethora of colors or flower prints, sometimes with heels or knee length boots. She was girly, but strong. “As you can see by her picture she was a beautiful girl… “ said Harvey’s aunt, Cheryl Epps-Roberson.
Her strength was tested through the seizures she suffered and the loss of her older brother, Hunter Akins, III, the day before his 27th birthday. Friends remarked that she wasn’t the same after watching him suffer and eventually die from four gunshot wounds to his head. As fate would have it, Harvey herself would suffer an extremely similar fate – falling in nearly the exact same spot as her brother after suffering seven gunshot wounds (with some to the head), five years and four days after his death. 12th and Peralta would have an entirely new meaning for their family.
“Back in the day we fought and lived to see another day. You win a few, you lose a few, but you lived to see another day. Now they get mad at each other…and they shoot each other,” said Epps-Roberson.
Many in her life say that she always wanted more. She wanted a way out. “I’m so done wit this Oakland Shit…I guess its time to move on…..” she wrote on September 23, 2011 on her Facebook page. A diploma from Fremont High School and a stint at Merritt College would suffice; her beloved 12th Street called.
Chemical and herbal indulgences considered, Harvey strived to enjoy life and was transparent when others cower at disclosing such things. That was the nature of her – candid and real – like the many images of her emblazoned on t-shirts and apparel around the church as mourners came to say their last goodbyes to her. Her life choices were relevant, but they aren’t tangible. In the end, the loved ones she left behind choose to honor her life by taking her on one last ride through her cherished West Oakland. Cheering and smiling just like she did, they passed the joy that was her earthly existence along to those who watched and even left a piece in front of the corner store she was shot in front of.
“Who’s gonna be there? The older ones are getting older and the younger ones are dying. So who’s gonna be the next generation?” Epps-Roberson commented. “It’s terrible. Too many people are dying from guns.”