On Sunday April 27, People’s Park celebrated its 45th anniversary with live music, food and reminiscing.
People’s Park is deeply rooted in Berkeley’s history, having been created by community members in the 1960s. It was the scene of a major confrontation between student protesters and police in May 1969. A mural near the park, painted by Berkeley artist O’Brien Thiele and lawyer/artist Osha Neumann, depicts the shooting of James Rector, a student who died from shotgun wounds inflicted by the police on May 15, 1969.
Today, the park is a daytime sanctuary for Berkeley’s homeless population. Confrontations and crimes are a regular occurrence and there is a constituency, including many local merchants on Telegraph Avenue, that would like to see the area change. The park is owned, managed, and maintained by UC Berkeley.
Shortly after his recent appointment, Robert J. Lalanne, the university’s vice chancellor for real estate said tackling the issues at People’s Park might be a “fun challenge” and that he looked forward to “getting some things done” to help revitalize Telegraph Avenue.
People’s Park includes a large lawn, community gardens, a basketball court, and performance stage.
Contributing photographer Ted Friedman captured the 45th anniversary event.
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