On Saturday, April 23, Berkeley community members gathered at People’s Park to celebrate the anniversary of the green space that was wrestled from UC hands and returned to the people 53 years ago. Live music enveloped the park from noon to 7:00 p.m. Visitors danced and lounged in the grass while local bands played and speakers pushed for the continued protection of the radical space. Numerous grassroots groups set up tables to pass out harm reduction supplies and information about community resources. Local artists sold their wares. It was the second year that the anniversary party shared the park with the 50-some people who live there—an encampment has occupied the top half of the park since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when UC Police paused their practice of kicking everybody out of the park at nightfall.Though the party felt sunny and bright, Cal’s embattled development plans loomed over the celebration. Pending multiple lawsuits, the UC plans to begin construction this summer. They received final approval from the UC Regents in September 2021 to build a dorm for a thousand students.
At the event, community members voiced their dissent about the dorm project, and urged newcomers to protect the park when the bulldozers arrive.
“When people can’t find help, help comes to them here,” a partygoer named Tyson Guerrero told Berkeleyside. “They’re taking that away from people.”
Alastair Boone is the Editor in Chief of Street Spirit.