The future of People’s Park, built in 1969 in a groundswell of radical political activism, may be in limbo but it has made it another year.
It’s been an eventful 54th year at the park, lush after heavy rains but with dozens of fewer trees than last summer, when UC Berkeley cut down redwoods and palms in August as it prepared to build a 1,200-bed student housing project.
Activists, old and new, forced Cal to stop work on the project through protests and court actions. People’s Park activists secured a recent court victory, but Cal plans to push its case forward through the state Supreme Court.
On Sunday, many speeches and performances were said in memory of Michael Delacour, one of the park’s founders, who died in March at 85 and had been a regular until last year at rallies to save the park. East Bay Food Not Bombs, a volunteer-run collective that regularly serves meals at the park, prepared a chocolate sheet cake with his name on it.
The event brought together people from different organizations, including the People’s Park Council and People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group, one of the groups going to court against the university, to homeless rights advocates and longtime supporters who traveled from afar to attend the celebrations.
In the week leading up to the anniversary, activists and community members refurbished the stage, which had deteriorated due to constant use and an unusually wet winter. The day was filled with poetry, music and speeches from early morning until sunset.