I was so grateful to be present at this great up swell of concern and care that at one point, I felt tears running down my cheeks. Shared hope and a determination to improve life for the many was palpable; it shimmered on the street, lingered in the air.
This mini-society of marchers seemed a cross-section of the population of Oakland. Families with small children, single women with babies, dogs (some carried their own signs), men and women in wheel chairs, elderly folk, middle-class and working-class. A father pushed his sleeping baby in a stroller, a large sign reading END THE FED attached to the above the baby's sun shade. Unions were well represented. Teachers, nurses, communication workers, and others walked proudly holding signs that identified their membership in this union or that.
I left this first march as they turned to leave Thomas Berkley Square, marching to Snow Park. I headed back towards the Plaza at 14th St., and when I arrived was surprised to see that as many folks as had been marching had gathered again in the Plaza.
The entire plaza had been gussied up since yesterday. All the posters that had blown about in yesterday's wind were reattached, and several very large colorful banners had been hung in trees and on light posts.
Under the shade of an oak tree, a group of Buddhist monks sat beside a hand-lettered sign reading Peace Walk, drumming and chanting. A second group of marchers were gathering, getting to walk with the same purpose, the same heart, in a different direction, downtown or crosstown.
We are what there is.
I had Earnest with me in the afternoon, and as he was uncomfortable, quite skittish with the increasing crowds, I left, and shortly thereafter, the marchers headed across 14th to Market St and down to the Port. Still, no real police presence. I did see some motorcycle cops, looking sheepish and sitting on a wall outside the African-American Museum as Mr. E and I walked down 14th St. . . .
I went home and learned that the protesters who had marched down Market St were now blocking the ports. Helicopters began to thrum overhead, and then at 5:50 p.m., a dozen motorcycle cops, riding in formation, two by two, zoomed past my house, going north, away from the Market St entrance to the port. Earnest barked, and I sat down in the last of the afternoon sun to read the Golden Light Sutra, to imagine world peace as a gossamer shawl capable of covering us all with its strange and serious light.