East Bay Groups Focused on Healing, Not Hate ahead of weekend rallies

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 06:35PM
Many counter rallies are being planned ahead of the Alt-right rallies planned in Berkeley and San Francisco over the weekend.


BERKELEY, Calif. - Sunday's planned rally in Berkeley, bills as an "Anti-Marxist" demonstration is spurring a whole host of alternative events in the East Bay

For Richmond's Doria Robinson, it's an emotional time, given recent events in Berkeley and Charlottesville, with the kind of hate and divisiveness that too often leads to violence.

FULL LIST: Counter demonstrations planned for San Francisco, Berkeley rallies

"People could walk down the street in Charlottesville and scream 'Jews will not replace us,'" said Robinson. "I need to take all of this pain and all of this energy and focus it into the best, the most positive thing that I can do."

Rather than square off with self-described "Anti-Marxist Free speech" demonstrators in Berkeley's Civic Park this weekend, Robinson will lead volunteers in a series of activities at the North Richmond Farm, an urban community garden.

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"I actually support everyone who is going out to peacefully protest," Robinson explained, "but I think we also need to have an equal or greater number of people actively doing positive things in the community."

Cat Zavis is organizing another counter-protest of sorts at Civic Park in Berkeley, but one that will take place Saturday, a full day ahead of Sunday's controversial 'Anti-Marxism' rally."

"What we're saying yes to is a world based on love," said Zavis, with the Network of Spiritual Progressives. "We will be here holding a prayerful intentional space, a family-friendly non-violent space of love, promoting love and justice and care for all."

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Andrew Hanauer's Group won't wait for the weekend. In the wake of prior events in places like Berkeley and Charlottesville, Hanauer's "One America Movement" will launch its Bay Area program "Faith and Community-based Strategies to Defeat Hate" Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Congregation Netivot Shalom at 1316 University Avenue in Berkeley.

"What we're talking about is not just how to stop hate in places like Charlottesville and here in Berkeley," said Hanauer, "but how do we build a movement for something positive beyond that and how do we bring people together, because what these hate groups want is to divide us."
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