As mentioned in last week’s newsletter and blog post, Indivisible East Bay decided to endorse the Bay Area Rally Against Hate, scheduled for Sunday August 27 from 10:30-12:30 pm at the UC Berkeley Crescent Lawn, near Addison and Oxford. The Rally was planned as a peaceful counter-protest to a white nationalist group’s posting on social media about an event called “No To Marxism,” scheduled for Sunday at MLK Civic Center Park in Berkeley from 1:00-5:00 pm. “No To Marxism” did not seek a permit, and none has been granted.
Many of us watched the special Berkeley City Council meeting last Friday, at which the Council and public aired concerns regarding the planned white nationalist event and counter protests. The Council passed an ordinance giving the City Manager power to issue temporary regulations of unpermitted protests. While Saturday’s massive counter-protest in Boston shows that counter-demos can be effective and peaceful, the City of Berkeley is encouraging people to “stay away from conflict” and it’s uncertain how many people will turn out on Sunday.
Many of you have been asking us about IEB’s participation in Sunday’s events. After much discussion among ourselves, and considering what other groups and organizations are planning, we’re offering our members the following information.
At the time of this post, individual members of several local Indivisible groups, including Indivisible East Bay, Indivisible El Sobrante, Poinsett Indivisible, and ReSisterhood do not feel they can “stay away” when white supremacists and Nazis invade our town. Many of us plan to attend the Rally Against Hate, which we note has been endorsed by more than a hundred groups and organizations.
We invite Indivisible East Bay members to join us; however, each individual must consider what level of risk they can tolerate, as it’s possible there could be violence or aggression even at the counter-protest. If you do want to gather with us, we’ll meet at 10:15 am at the top of the “crescent” of the Crescent Lawn, near the concrete walls. Once the counter-rally ends at 12:30, IEB’s participation for the afternoon will be over. While some groups are planning to march to the white nationalist rally, the IEB group is not doing so although obviously each member will make their own decision.
And if you’d like to join us on Sunday, here are some suggestions:
- Wear your IEB or Resist shirts!
- Make handheld signs or use cardboard tubes as poles
- Come with a buddy, or make new friends there to hang out with. Watch their back and they’ll watch yours. Share phone numbers
- Engage with other Indivisibles, resistance groups and allies
- Bring sunscreen, water, and energy bars
- Consider whether to bring children and pets
- Establish an exit route and/or emergency meeting area north of campus
- Be aware of conditions around you and understand that the situation is unpredictable and safety cannot be guaranteed
Again, we all have different comfort levels and there’s no guilt if you decide to stay away. Some IEB members are choosing other ways to protest:
- Download and read the Southern Poverty Law Center’s excellent guide: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide
- Attend a Day of Service and Solidarity with Urban Tilth at the North Richmond Farm on August 26 from 10 am to 1 pm
- Create Resist signs for windows
- Amplify our voice by retweeting and/or sharing on Facebook any IEB social media posts that day. Follow our public FB page and our twitter account, and help us push out our postings, including those with hashtags #IEBUnitedAgainstH8 or #IEBResists
- Finally, the local interfaith community has taken a leading role in organizing to counter the alt-right, white supremacist and anti-Semitic gathering. Several different faith groups and congregations are planning to participate in various actions. Many of them will gather on Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, between 12:15 and 13:30 pm. See details here if you’re interested in joining with them
As the situation will likely change leading up to Sunday morning, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Resisting” in the subject line to stay updated on IEB’s plans.