Ruby and Bob MacDonald and Nancy Bickel were among the Leaguers who joined in the December 14, 2014 walk and “die-in” in Berkeley to protest the many black men who have died at the hands of police in questionable circumstances. and the excessive use of police violence against young black men and others–of which we’ve
had several recent examples nationally in particular the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO. and the suffocation death of Eric Garner after a choke hold by NY city policemen in Staten Island. This peaceful event followed the early December evening marches and demonstrations where some demonstrators and some police were not peaceful.
The walk started with gathering and singing at First Congregational Church on 2345 Channing Way, where the MacDonalds and I joined the event. I continued with the group down to University Avenue between The Way Christian Center and Netivot Shalom Congregation, where police had closed off the block to enable the carefully planned event.
Pastor Michael McBride of The Way Christian Center at 1305 Unaiversity Ave and Rabbi Menachem Creditor of Netivot Shalom congregation at 1316 University were among the organizers and moving speakers at the “die-in.”
For Berkeleyside coverage of the Dec. 14, 2014 protest, see http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/12/15/berkeley-communities-of-faith-join-forces-for-peaceful-civil-disobedience-black-lives-matter-protest/
Photos above from Nancy Bickel
At the MLK Jr Community Breakfast
League members joined fellow community members on January 19 to celebrate Martin Luther King at the Fourth Berkeley Community Breakfast honoring King. We filled the League sponsored table and spilled over to other tables as community leaders spoke eloquently about what still must be done to fulfill the dream we share with Dr. King. Young people recited and sang and Berkeley students were honored with awards for essays about Dr. King and civic good works. Retired principal Thelette Bennett was honored.
Why the League walks against violence and
supports “black lives matter” demonstrations
A curious citizen wrote to ask what “black lives matter” has to do with the League. In my view it has everything to do with the essential purpose of the League–making democracy work–and with many of our specific policies. I list some of those policies below. For that reason, we have been meeting with BOCA, Berkeley Congregations Organizing for Action, to march in honor and memory of young black men and others shot down on Berkeley streets, and inviting our members to join these walks to encourage peaceful solutions to violence and to remember our own local victims of violence. Most of the young men we have marched for in Berkeley were killed by other young men and this is the circle of violence that BOCA seeks to break.
The League of Women Voters of the United State–and thus all the state and local leagues–strongly oppose gun violence and encourage solutions to avoid gun violence of all kinds. For one example, see http://lwv.org/content/gun-
We also worked with BOCA to get underrepresented groups registered to vote, since the League’s highest priorities are to enable every citizen to vote and to protect every citizen’s right to vote. See for example the national president’s recent blog post http://lwv.org/blog/why-we-
We also have strong policy positions in social policy to “secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. Promote social and economic justice, and the health and safety of all Americans.” See for example, http://lwv.org/content/social-
All these policy positions were developed with the participation of League members, as the League is a grassroots organizations.
Nancy Bickel, President
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