Bay Area MLK rallies call for equality

Byby Nick Smith via KGO logo
Sunday, January 18, 2015
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Demonstrators carry on MLK's message in Oakland and San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There were rallies on both sides of the Bay Saturday calling for equality. They were peaceful demonstrations to honor and carry on the message of Martin Luther King, Jr.

A group of about two dozen demonstrators took over the corner of 24th & Mission Street in an effort to reclaim the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The struggle against racism, against economic inequality, for basic social justice. What he fought for, we are fighting for today," said Gloria La Riva of Answer Coalition.

There are several planned actions scheduled to happen over the weekend to recognize the work started by the slain civil rights leader. Demonstrators say they intend to show their power, by engaging in non-violent protests.

"We're also going to get on the buses and talk to people who ride the buses and ask them to join the movement," said La Riva.

A short time later, a hand full of members did just that and boarded the #49 MUNI so they could hand out fliers and encourage more people to join their movement.

Across the Bay in Berkeley, things were heated but civil. State and local leaders got an earful from community members demanding an end to what they say are policies by the city and law enforcement that unfairly target black and brown people.

"Now is the time for people who claim to be the elected representatives of poor people, black people, oppressed people to grow some courage and institute policy solutions that are not a mystery to our community," said Pastor Michael McBride with the Way Christian Center.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, says he understands why some are frustrated and hopes today's forum will create a framework for cooperation and change benefiting everyone.

"Not just the police, but how should people conduct themselves when they're in these kinds of situations? The demonstrators, what is their code of conduct? I think we need to look at both sides of the picture," said Bates.

Berkeley city leaders say they want to turn today's forum into a positive message. They will give the floor to the community again on the January 20th and fashion a response to their concerns by February.