Tag Archives: Pastor Michael McBride

Jamelle Bouie, Anna Lappé, Meklit, Patrick Dooley sign up for Uncharted Ideas Festival in Berkeley

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The line-up of speakers and performers for the 2015 Uncharted Festival of Ideas is almost complete. Here are just a few of those who have recently confirmed:

  • Meklit Hadero The Ethio-American singer-songwriter co-founded The Nile Project, and her music bridges the frontiers between language, tribes and disciplines.
  • Anna Lappé, co-founder with her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, of the Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund, is helping us reevaluate the way we think about food.
  • Patrick Dooley, who founded Shotgun Players in 1992 in the basement of a pizza parlor, is committed to theater as a form of activism. Dooley will be in conversation with culture wirter Scott Timberg, whose latest book is Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class.
  • Joshua Johnson, Johnson, the morning newscaster on KQED and guest-host of public affairs program “Forum,” recently launched the “So Well Spoken” segment and podcast. Johnson will be talking to Pastor Michael McBride, a national leader in the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Sandra Gilbert Gilbert is a pioneering feminist critic who has most recently published Rereading Women: Thirty Years of Exploring Our Literary Traditions.

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Prayers, songs and lie-in during faith group protest against proposed Berkeley homeless laws

Protesters from various faith groups join hands at the start of the protest against proposed new laws on street behavior. Photo: Ted Friedman
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An estimated 60 members of faith groups gathered at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza Thursday night to protest proposed new laws that they claimed would “criminalize the homeless.” Prayers and speeches were followed by a small number of the protesters lying down to spend the night sleeping in the plaza.

“Jesus probably would be criminalized by these law if he lived in the City of Berkeley,” said Pastor Michael McBride, founder of The Way Christian Center, who gave the opening prayer at the protest. “The era of criminalizing people need to end. We’re still using old tactics to deal with modern problems.”  … Continue reading »

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Faith groups to sleep on street to support city’s homeless

BART and the city of Berkeley plan to overall the downtown Berkeley plaza. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A group representing more than 40 Berkeley religious congregations will gather tonight to show its support for the city’s homeless population in the wake of proposed new laws that they say would criminalize the homeless, as well as an incident, caught on video, in which a downtown “ambassador”  assaulted a homeless man last month.

Some participants plan to sleep overnight on BART Plaza alongside homeless people. The “Interfaith Actions in Solidarity with Homeless People” protest includes the blessing of a meal and an interfaith service. The event starts at 5 p.m. at BART Plaza at the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street.

“We are deeply concerned at the way the city is handling the homeless,” said Sally Hindman, Executive Director of Youth Spirit Artworks, a Quaker, and one of the organizers of the protest. “This is not in the spirit of [Berkeley’s] traditions. We are one of the richest countries in the world and it’s appalling that we have dozens of people sleeping in doorways.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley school district holds Black Lives Matter forum

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On Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Berkeley Unified School District held a Black Lives Matter forum for the district’s middle- and high-school students, as well as their families.

Conceived and organized by Charity DaMarto, BUSD’s supervisor of Family Engagement and Equity, and Director of Student Services Susan Craig, the event was held to discuss what the school community could do to respond to the social justice issues underlying the recent court decisions in the Ferguson and New York police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Watch the whole forum in the video below. … 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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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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Berkeley Pastor Michael McBride: Brown’s death was the final straw that galvanized communities across the nation

Pastor Mike McBride
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Some people, angered by events in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY, take their protests to the streets in Berkeley. Others fly across the country to where the outrage began.

Pastor Michael McBride, who founded the progressive Way Christian Center congregation on University Avenue, recently returned from Ferguson. McBride has gained some national prominence as the leader of Live Free, a nationwide, faith-based campaign against gun violence and mass incarceration. Along with other members of Live Free, McBride has spent about half of his time in Ferguson since Michael Brown was killed on Aug. 9.

MSNBC viewers may have caught a fleeting image of McBride in Ferguson on Nov. 24 as Chris Hayes prepared to interview him. That was before what was assumed to be gunshots were heard and Hayes and the pastor were instructed by producers to leave the scene. (See the dramatic video, below)

While in Missouri, McBride and his colleagues led trainings in political organizing, voter engagement, and healing, and demonstrated alongside the locals.

In a sit-down interview with Berkeleyside conducted last week, before protests and riots erupted in Berkeley, McBride said he was surprised to see the severity of what he described as the “police state” in Missouri. … Continue reading »

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Workshop urges action on gun violence around Berkeley

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Following the recent shootings of former Berkeley students in Oakland, a coalition of groups held a workshop Friday, May 24, to try to figure out ways to reduce the vulnerability of young people in the city. The meeting was spurred by the murder of 17-year-old Olajuwon Clayborn, another incident in which a Berkeley High student was left in a coma and later died, as well as other shootings with Berkeley student connections.

Berkeley Alliance, which coordinates the city’s 2020 Vision program, brought together representatives from Berkeley Unified School District, Berkeley police, City of Berkeley staff, and community organizations to work on violence prevention ideas that have emerged from 2020 Vision workgroups, including greater mental health suport, case workers for at-risk students, case managers for high school students, adopting training program, and community engagement in a citywide anti-violence campaign.  … Continue reading »

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All Berkeley comes together, celebrates hope on MLK Day

It felt like all of Berkeley was represented at yesterday morning’s Martin Luther King breakfast celebration down by the bay.

They came from seminaries and temples, political groups, law enforcement, schools, neighborhood associations and government departments — our assemblywoman, mayor, and chief of police were there, as were many church and community leaders, councilmembers, teachers, students, business men and women, and children. (Watch the slideshow of photographs, above, by Nancy Rubin.)

On a crisp winter morning, nearly 400 local people gathered to mark Martin Luther King Day, to share breakfast and to watch together live-streaming of the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley pastor under fire hopes for calm after protests

Father John Direen, Pastor at St Joseph The Worker Church in Berkeley
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Two weeks after more than 100 people protested against Reverend John Direen outside St. Joseph The Worker Church while he conducted mass inside, Direen disputed many of the accusations leveled against him in an interview with Berkeleyside.

While Direen acknowledged he has made some unpopular moves —  including closing meeting spaces and laying off staff — he said the changes have been driven by an urgent need to cut costs in a parish carrying a $1.1 million debt rather than being an attempt to push his own conservative agenda.

“When I came to St. Joseph two years ago I quickly realized we were facing a crisis,” he said. “We owed money to the diocese and to a variety of vendors, and we were being threatened by lawsuits.” Much of the debt was incurred by retrofitting work done at the church and it was compounded by decreased donations from a congregation in the midst of an economic recession.

Direen has laid off six church staffers in total, the latest a month ago when a cook and office manager were let go. All of the people involved were popular, he said, but he works to ensure they are all employable elsewhere. … Continue reading »

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Student voices are missing from gun safety report

One of the inner courtyards at Berkeley High
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Some significant voices are missing in the 11-page report the Ad Hoc Safety Committee prepared on how to reduce guns in Berkeley high schools: that of the students.

While two Berkeley High students sat on the committee — at least until the end of the academic year — efforts to find out and understand why students brought guns into school did not go far.

Susan Craig, the director of student services for the Berkeley Unified School District, interviewed almost all of the six Berkeley students who were caught with guns and asked them why they brought weapons on campus. None of them were particularly forthcoming about their reasons, she told the safety committee.

The district also enlisted the aid of Pastor Michael McBride of BOCA, a faith-based  action committee, to hold focus groups with students to discuss guns on campus. While those conversations happened, McBride did not provide a summary of those discussions to the committee, despite repeated phone calls asking for the information by Craig and Superintendent Bill Huyett.

McBride was not paid for his efforts, but in late May the school district approved a  $15,0000 contract with Lifelines to Healing, an anti-violence mentoring program promoted by BOCA. (Note 7/1/11: McBride said BOCA will not benefit financially from this contract and is in fact, donating $10,000 to the overall project.)

A survey conducted by the safety consultant Al Bahn of Edu-Safe Associates only garnered one student response. … Continue reading »

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