Op-eds on Berkeley protests: Myths, perspectives, the role of the library, and the approach of radical group BAMN

Tanya from By Any Means Necessary leads march on Dec. 9, 2014
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Berkeleyside has recently published several op-eds on the subject of the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

In a piece published on Dec. 10, Jennifer Davidson, a professor at American Baptist Seminary of the West, argues that we need to remember to tell the whole story when recounting the protests, not just the story of violence.

Also on Dec. 10, Berkeley parent, journalist and community activist Erica Etelson, addresses what she says are five myths about the protests, including the claim that “the protestors are mostly entitled white kids looking for excitement.” … Continue reading »

‘Our Town’ by the Shotgun Players in Berkeley is a winner

Sam Jackson in 'Our Town' by the Shotgun Players. Photo: Cheshire Isaacs
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In Our Town, three-time Pulitzer prize-winning author Thornton Wilder created a profound and intimate exploration into American life and death. And, although it was written over 76 years ago, the Shotgun Players’ version of the drama remains fresh and vibrant — still an important piece of American theater. Congratulations to the Shotgun Players and Director Susannah Martin for this winning production.

The Stage Manager (excellent Madeline H. D. Brown) serves as narrator and commentator. She explains that the first act opens in 1901 and follows the lives of the residents of tiny Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, where neighbors know each other, doors are never locked and horses are still the mode of transportation. We meet the Webb and the Gibbs families, particularly Emily Webb and George Gibbs. Both El Beh, as Emily, and Josh Schell, as George, are first-rate. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 12.15.14

Fiat Lux by Russell Kelly-Gordon. Photo from Dec. 10, 2014

Fiat Lux. Photo, taken on Dec. 10, 2014, by Russell Kelly-Gordon

Berkeley Pantry reaches needy with food for body and soul (CoCo Times)
Berkeley Stars sing and shine (UCB News)
Rent board to discuss effects of oil by rail through East Bay cities (Tribune)
James Barnes resigns as BHS football coach (East Bay Prep Corner)
Cal’s women’s basketball team join protests on court (ESPN)
City Council subcommittee to find experts to monitor Measure D (Daily Cal)
Two Berkeley protesters charged with felonies (Daily Planet)

Berkeleyside publishes thousands of stories a year on the goings-on in Berkeley. We need your financial support to help us continue to produce great stories about the city. It’s easy to become a supporter: Just click here.

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Neighbors complain about Berkeley Police commandeering their street to get ready for protests

During the Dec. 6 protests, Berkeley police commandeered McKinley St. to set up a staging area for mutual aid from other departments. This is a photo of a Hayward Police Department van parked on the street. Photo by
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By Mara Van Ells

Residents on McKinley Avenue near the Berkeley Police station are seething after a week of protests which saw parking banned, the street blocked to normal traffic after 5 p.m., and police cars and armored vehicles stationed there.

Some neighbors said when they tried to go home, police yelled at them and demanded to see their identification. They were also told, “no ins and outs.”

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

“I was treated like a criminal for trying to come home from work,” said Julie Guilfoy, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years. … Continue reading »

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‘Double header’ Berkeley council meetings set for Tuesday, 2 protests also planned

Family members of Kayla Moore say they're still fighting for justice after her death in police custody last year. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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After canceling its regular session last week, the Berkeley City Council is set to hold two back-to-back meetings Tuesday night at Longfellow Middle School.

During those events, two separate groups have announced plans to protest in Berkeley. Separately, the Berkeley Unified School District has announced a panel discussion this week, for BUSD families only, regarding police-related fatalities. It remains to be seen how protest activities might affect the scheduled city meetings, but officials say they are preparing for a large turnout.

City officials canceled the Dec. 9 council meeting after protesters announced plans to take it over and shut it down. Officials said the regular meeting location, at Old City Hall, could not handle the expected capacity, and postponed the meeting to an undetermined date just hours before it was set to begin.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

Some activists had announced plans earlier this month to “shut down” the Dec. 9 meeting to protest decisions made by the Berkeley Police Department to teargas and fire projectiles at demonstrators who refused to disperse from Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on Dec. 6. (Berkeleyside has submitted a lengthy list of questions to police about this incident and has been told responses are forthcoming.)

Late last week, city staff said council’s Dec. 9 agenda will be heard Tuesday, Dec. 16, in the auditorium of Longfellow Middle School, at 1500 Derby St. at 5:30 p.m. A special worksession on the Adeline corridor originally scheduled for that time has been canceled. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley communities of faith join forces for ‘peaceful civil disobedience’ Black Lives Matter protest

Rafi Wirtschafter, 13, joined the faith protest in Berkeley on Sunday Dec. 14, 2014. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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By Lance Knobel and Tracey Taylor

An estimated 300 people, most of them affiliated with local faith-based places of worship, blocked University Avenue in Berkeley for just over an hour during a peaceful protest Sunday, Dec. 14. The “Black Lives Matter Large-Scale Demonstration” was initiated by a number of local faith groups.

The protest joined the hundreds of demonstrations that took place locally and nationally over the weekend over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

At the center of the protest was an 11-minute die-in, reminding people of the 11 times Garner said, “I can’t breathe.”

“This demonstration is intended to show the discipline of civil disobedience,” said Pastor Michael McBride, founder of The Way Christian Center at 1305 University Ave., directly opposite Congregation Netivot Shalom at 1316 University, where the die-in took place. … Continue reading »

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Anonymous artist collective claims responsibility for lynching effigies erected at UC Berkeley

Pastor Michael McBride tweeted this photo of a cut out of Laura Nelson out on Twitter.
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An anonymous artists’ collective posted notices at UC Berkeley on Sunday announcing it had placed three effigies in nooses at Cal — and a number of others around Oakland.

The group created the life-size cardboard cutouts of people who had been lynched to draw parallels between the past and modern day society, according to a statement.

See Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.

“These images connect past events to present ones – referencing endemic faultlines of hatred and persecution that are and should be deeply unsettling to the American consciousness,” they wrote. “We choose to remain anonymous because this is not about us as artists, but about the growing movement to address these pervasive wrongs.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man cases yoga studio, arrested after assault on officer

Image: Google Maps
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A suspicious man who went into a West Berkeley yoga studio on Sunday morning, asked about classes, then elbowed a police officer in the face who tried to detain him, has been arrested, authorities said Sunday afternoon.

Shortly before noon, the Berkeley Police Department’s Communications Center received a call from a yoga studio in the 800 block of University Avenue, around Sixth Street, said Lt. Dave Frankel, a watch commander for the Berkeley police.

The caller said a suspicious man was inside the business, CorePower Yoga at 811 University Ave. According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, the man was walking in and out of the studio, asking about classes and about studio operations.

“The employee felt that the person was casing the business to commit a crime,” Frankel said via email.

The first responding officer arrived at the yoga studio within minutes. That officer found the man inside, and tried to detain him. But he “became combative and struck the officer in the face before running from the business.”

The officer told dispatchers over the scanner that the man “had a needle in his pocket and he struck me in the side of the head.” … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley’s Black Student Union leads peaceful protest march from campus to Oakland

12.13 protest photo laurie kahn
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Despite being shaken by the appearance of effigies hanging from nooses on campus Saturday morning, UC Berkeley Black Student Union (BSU) leaders said they didn’t want that incident to affect their planned march against police killings of black people. Approximately 300 protesters met at Sproul Plaza at noon and, over the course of nearly three hours, marched to downtown Oakland to join forces with the larger “Millions March” demonstration that had gathered there.

Read more of Berkeleyside’s Berkeley protest coverage.

The march was calm, with the crowd following orders and cues from the BSU organizers in the front. Led by a car, the protesters walked up Bancroft Way to College Avenue, headed south, paused for about 20 minutes to occupy the intersection of College and Ashby avenues, and eventually continued onto Broadway. Police instructed the car to turn off College before entering Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Community responds to noose effigies found at Cal

This effigy was one of three authorities say was hung at the UC Berkeley campus Saturday morning. Photo: Cal Black Student Union
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By Frances Dinkelspiel and Emilie Raguso

Sunday, Dec. 14, 5 p.m. An anonymous artists’ collective has taken responsibility for the effigies strung up in nooses at UC Berkeley on Saturday.

The statement from the collective:

“We are a collective of queer and POC artists responsible for the images of historical lynchings posted to several locations in Berkeley and Oakland,” reads a notice the group distributed. “These images connect past events to present ones – referencing endemic faultlines of hatred and persecution that are and should be deeply unsettling to the American consciousness. We choose to remain anonymous because this is not about us as artists, but about the growing movement to address these pervasive wrongs.”

See past Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.

“For those who think these images are no longer relevant to the social framework in which black Americans exist everyday – we respectfully disagree. Garner, Brown, and others are victims of systemic racism. For those who think these images depict crimes and attitudes too distasteful to be seen .. we respectfully disagree. Our society must never forget. For those under the mistaken assumption that the images themselves were intended as an act of racism – we vehemently disagree and intended only the confrontation of historical context.” … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.12.14

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Police Review Commission asks for suspension of tear gas

A line of police officers marched down Telegraph Avenue during the Dec. 6th protests. Photo: Pete Rosos
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After hearing the testimony of about 10 people who said they were treated unnecessarily roughly during a Dec. 6 protest, the Police Review Commission voted Wednesday to ask Berkeley city officials to restrict the use of tear gas, over-the-shoulder baton hits and firing projectiles as a form of crowd control.

The PRC, which put the issue on its agenda as an emergency measure, is hoping the Berkeley City Council will do the same at its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Read more coverage of the recent protests in Berkeley.

“Our proposal was for a cooling-off period,” said Alison Bernstein, vice chair of the PRC. “[Using tear gas] is a crowd control technique. We’re not saying it’s right. We’re not saying it’s wrong. But we are hearing serious concerns from the community.” … Continue reading »

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Sounds of Oaxaca: Pasatono Orquesta play Berkeley

Pasatono Orquesta
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The southern Mexican state of Oaxaca is a realm where indigenous culture continues to thrive in the 21st century. Rather than closing themselves off to outside currents, the Mixtecs, Zapotecs and other peoples of the region are constantly integrating new information, evolution that’s evident in Pasatono Orquesta, a fascinating nine-piece ensemble that makes its Bay Area debut at Freight & Salvage on Wednesday on a double bill with Cascada de Flores.

Championed by artists like vocalist Lila Downs, the intermittently Oaxaca-raised daughter of Mixtec cabaret singer Anita Sanchez, the band has compiled a vivid repertoire of tunes played by the Mixeteca orchestras that traveled the region in the middle decades of the 20th century. Sounds infiltrated from the north and south, and often hung around in Oaxaca long after they went out of fashion elsewhere, like the jaunty Charleston which figures in some Pasatono pieces. But Pasatono’s latest album, Maroma, is something of a departure. Drawing on the music that accompanies Oaxacan circuses, it’s an intoxicating mix of influences such as jazz, polka, chilena and cumbia. … Continue reading »

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