Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf participates in a Big Wheel race for charity next to Oakland, CA city hall.Read More
May Day in San Francisco, and another day without immigrants, much like the demonstration on February 16th. Encouragement to skip work, school, avoid banks and shopping, etc was the message of demonstrators. Honestly though, people got to eat, work to make money and go to school, the second national day of "playing hooky" from responsibilities didn't seem to have a resonating effect. I got out of class before noon, and had some time to eat lunch before watching the mob of sign holders and bullhorns congest the area. Ironically, we were talking about subjective reporting in my psychology class today, and to make it perfectly clear to you, that is what I'm doing now.
Market St seems to be the route of choice for demonstrations, I've seen countless protesters all with the same old message marching up and down this street. There must be something rewarding about blocking traffic, congesting transportation and shelling out city finds for the officers that have to block off traffic from side streets while the sign mob walks down this street every weekend. Protesting is all fine, but the majority of these marches simply start with speakers at Justin Herman Plaza, take a slow stroll down Market St then listen to more speakers at City Hall, why not just skip the middle man? Maybe I'm just cynical, or maybe I just crave something more exciting than the same old drone chanting of slogans that haven't changed for the past 4 or 5 months.
Earth Day, San Francisco, CA and the March for Science. To be honest, I wasn't too aware that Earth Day was coming up, aside from the blasting event postings on social media. My most memorable account of anything related to this was the movie Biodome with Pauly Shore, I'll leave it at that.
There was an expected crowd of around 10,000 people showing up for this massive walk down Market Street. The crowd gathered at Justin Herman Plaza like penguins huddling over eggs, packed in tight, all glaring towards the mighty PA system. I wormed my way to the front of the pack, but immediately decided to work the crowd rather than listen to a marathon of speeches that mention the word "science" every sentence.
There were a few members from "NO!" blaring on megaphones and banging drumsticks on cans and a few Marxist ideological believers handing out pamphlets. For the most part though, things were tame. The crowd size grew too large for the plaza and poured into the streets before SFPD had a chance to block traffic, causing a bit of confusion for a cable car and a garbage truck that drove by.
The official movement began at 1230. I saw some recognizable people I've photographed in San Francisco, Oakland and as far as Berkeley, I guess people get around and become local figure heads for demonstrations. Either that or I just get stuck in the middle of all this too often. The sea of people marched towards city hall, and I followed for maybe two blocks before deciding to break away and take the train ahead of them. I've seen massive groups of people walking down the street and I know it's honestly boring and generally not exciting in these conditions.
Civic Center was a little more interesting, there were merchant shops setup everywhere, a giant dome tent (see reference to Biodome earlier) and some odd activities here and there. Frankly, the event seemed like a giant ploy to sell products and advertise. Car dealers and even The SF Chronicle were there to promote from their booths and displays.
The dome tent hosted speakers and a few events though that weren't corporate sales attempts. Drummers played while dancers, well, danced. Audience members were encouraged to join in too, I elected to pass and continue stalking around the area in search of interesting people. In the middle of the booth city, a wall was setup that allowed people to paint whatever they wanted, good to see some publicly created artwork.
As the crowd caught up from the march, it got crammed very quickly. Bumping elbows and fending off stray signs got to me, so I ventured further away in search of the unusual suspects. My favorite, by far, was the high five Jesus. Even if you aren't religious, it's hard to be in a bad mood when slapping some skin with JC. Following him was a giant black snake, closely resembling a dragon from the Chinese New Year parade, but perhaps this had to do with SCIENCE. Pushing further out and into the streets, there were several small circles formed around brass bands and instruments. I Left the march/event/SCIENCE after a finale from a band, it seemed to have a conclusive tone to the day and walking out after a musical conclusion just seemed dramatic.
Put together by the California Environmental Justice Coalition and a host of co-sponsors, protesters gathered outside the EPA office in San Francisco at 75 Hawthorne. At least a half dozen police were perched across the street with several officers positioned in front of the building to keep traffic flowing. Everybody mingled about for a while talking amongst themselves, the event officially slated to begin at noon.
A cart rigged with two megaphones attached to a microphone was hauled to the base of the stairs, acting as center stage for the rally. Instinctively, the crowd gathered in a circle and listened to each speaker, while a few demonstrators remained facing the street and waving signage to passing cars. As is usual with protests in the Bay Area, there was more disdain and comments against President Trump peppered in throughout the rally about climate change.
There were several children present for the rally as well, a few of them holding signs that made KKK references and a “not my cheeto” [sic] sign. These kids looked like elementary school students, and sometimes I wonder if they even fully comprehend what they are saying when they are brought to these demonstrations by their parents. Two members of the Gila River Indian Community were also present. Leading a prayer to the rally and then followed by a blessing alongside the Mojave Indian elders.