On August 26, the family of Alex Goodwin Jr., also known as AyeGee, held a backpack giveaway in his memory at the Berkeley High School (BHS) All Class Reunion Picnic in San Pablo Park. Goodwin, a BHS alumnus and aspiring musician, was shot in August of 2016 outside of his family’s home on Mabel Street, and died later at Highland Hospital. He was 22.
The giveaway was organized in a continued effort to honor Goodwin’s memory and bring about positive change in the local community, which has been shaken by multiple incidents of gun violence over the past year.
The event was also inspired by Goodwin’s enjoyment of back-to-school preparation.“Back-to-school was so exciting for him,” Goodwin’s mother Kameka Goodwin said. “He always wanted to make sure he had all the supplies, so we wanted to make sure the underprivileged had supplies as well,” she added.
Young students stopped by the family’s booth throughout the afternoon to pick up a backpack filled with school supplies. The giveaway was the first of many events that the Goodwin family plans to establish through their new organization, All Things AyeGee. All Things AyeGee was formed about four months ago, with the goal of eventually incorporating as a nonprofit and applying for grant funding.
Potential future events may include a youth basketball challenge and a music mentorship program, in remembrance of Goodwin’s love for the sport and his participation in a rap music collective called Neighborhood Heavy. Other event ideas include a winter gear drive and subsidized trips to locations such as Yosemite.
All Things AyeGee hopes to keep Goodwin’s name alive and dispel any misinformation regarding his tragic death. His mother said that some members of the press and the community have mistakenly suggested that Goodwin was shot due to involvement with a gang. In founding the organization, she said, “I wanted them to be very clear that he was a positive young man. He was making music, trying to help his family get further.”
Despite multiple public statements made by the family, Goodwin’s aunt, Lillian Roberts, said that Goodwin’s memory has been buried in the wake of multiple other shootings that have occurred in the City of Berkeley in the past year.
The homicide case remains unsolved. “You don’t hear about him much … but we still don’t have an answer,” Roberts said.
The Berkeley Police Department has continued to investigate the case, and they have offered a reward of up to twenty thousand dollars for any information leading to an arrest.
Although Goodwin’s family and the Berkeley Police Department are actively pursuing the resolution of the case, Roberts said, the emotional harm done will never be able to be resolved. For Goodwin’s mother, a Berkeley native who grew up in the same family house on Mabel Street, the atmosphere of the neighborhood feels as if it has changed since her son’s death. She said that her neighbors have expressed their fear due to shootings and intimidation.
Still, she said that she is optimistic about the potential of All Things AyeGee to make a positive, constructive impact. “With the organization we are starting, hopefully it will help make a difference,” Goodwin’s mother said.