Shutting Down Hate: Right-wing Nationalists Retreat in the 2nd Battle of Berkeley

On Sunday, August 27th a right-wing nationalist rally was scheduled to happen at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, in Berkeley’s civic center.  The planned hate party was cancelled last minute over “safety” concerns from its organizers.   The same predicament had played out the day before in San Francisco, where the organized response to a similar planned rally prompted thousands to march and openly denounce bigotry, racism, and organized hate in their city.  What was sensationalized and projected to be a violent weekend of clashes with white nationalists and a left of center responses became an overwhelming, unified response against the hate espoused by neo-Nazis, white Nationalists, and  conservative xenophobes from the San Francisco and East Bay community.

Given the outcome of the first battle in Berkeley on April 26th earlier this year and the rage prompted by Charlottesville a few weeks ago, I anticipated a strong response from the Antifa factions that were humiliated as they were punched, kicked, and run out of the  civic center last April.  Numerous response rallies marched to what many might have imagined was going to be a Berkeley civic center crawling with hate-groups and angry far-Right wingers by late afternoon.  What they found was the remnants of a loud, and often volatile debate on hate.  Although hate-groups passed on showing up, individuals whose Right-wing, racist convictions are strong enough to risk the public ridicule made their presence known.  Just like in Charlottesville, those who came defending far-Right ideas and Trump’s hate mongering agenda were debated, shouted at, and ultimately run out of the grounds.

Exiting the park I had heavy feeling in my heart that had me thinking of Dr. King.  Although the rage and indignity arises from love, I couldn’t help but to feel the ruse of power among us.  I felt no one won that day.  That’s the tragedy of it all. The powder keg was lit in Charlottesville, the clown President gave the flame oxygen, and now we have more tragedy ahead of us.

Interesting times for my camera’s lens, but such a sad state of affairs in the nation.

RIP Heather Heyer.

— JMG, Berkley CA





Birth of a Dynasty: A Camera’s Victory Lap Around Lake Merritt on Parade Day

On Thursday, June 15th the city of Oakland gathered to salute the team that won its second championship trophy in three seasons.  Looking to document the dynamic spirit of the city in a critical year of transition, I took a celebratory lap along with the team around Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

There’s much art in the spirit of a city.  I hope the selections give visitors to the site a taste of the color, joy, and breadth of diversity that Oakland breaths at this moment.  I also hope the photographs succeed in showing how the city identifies with this team and vice versa.

This championship comes with inevitable change looming for those hanging on by a string to stay in a community they know and love and those instigating the class and race shifts that are palpable.  One literally cannot ignore the way change is floating in the air.  As you will see this is not hyperbole but written across the sky for all to read. Those who follow my blog know my ongoing project is taking up gentrification as the subject of my photography.  These selection are part of a larger project coming together this year. I’m glad to anticipate this set in honor of an exemplary team and a great city.