First came a giant Black Lives Matter street mural on Allston Way. Now there is an Ohlone Territory mural just a block away.
In late June, Berkeley staff painted the Ohlone mural on Center Street right by Milivia Street, adjacent to City Hall, according to City Councilperson Sophie Hahn. The letters are red, surrounded by a white background.
On June 9, the Berkeley City Council unanimously adopted a measure to paint both Black Lives Matter and Ohlone Territory on city streets. Hahn introduced the measure and City Council members Kate Harrison, Cheryl Davila and Ben Bartlett co-sponsored the item.
“The painting of Black Lives Matter (and also Ohlone) on iconic Berkeley streets must be done immediately to be an effective addition to the Black Live Matters movement, which is currently active and building momentum in Berkeley and throughout the United States,” read the resolution.
But the vote came on the same evening that students from Berkeley High were painting Black Lives Matter next to the high school at the end of a march for racial justice. So the city decided not to do another one of those.
The Ohlone Territory sign is temporary because the street is slated to be repaved soon, said Hahn. It will be redone after that. Hahn said she hopes some Ohlone elders will be able to come to the next painting event.
The Ohlone people were the original inhabitants of the Bay Area and coastal northern California. Their numbers were decimated after Spanish colonizers and explorers arrived in 1769. Many Ohlones still live in Berkeley.