Berkeley People of Faith Take to the Streets Saying “Black Lives Matter”

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

December 14—In Berkeley, several hundred members of religious denominations, community members, and students took to the streets on “Black Lives Matter” Sunday, part of a nationwide day of action by people of faith against police brutality and the murder of Black people by the police.

The day started at the first Congregational Church of Berkeley where several hundred marched through the Telegraph Avenue area of Berkeley after church services carrying signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “People of Faith Respond.”

Berkeley, December 14

Berkeley, December 14

Photos: Special to

Before leading the march in four and a half minutes of silence (to mark the four and a half hours that police left Michael Brown’s body lying in the street, Reverend Sally Juarez with Saint John's Presbyterian Church said, “There must never be another Oscar Grant. There must never be another Michael Brown or Alan Blueford or Eric Garner or Tamir Rice at 13 years of age. There must never be another young Black life lost to an officer’s bullet... so today we take to the streets and we must be prepared to come back again and again and again until God's justice in this world is woven into the fabric of American life and until every Black person grows up knowing that they are honored and cherished and loved and respected. So we proclaim today that Black lives matter.”

After the march through the Telegraph area, a contingent of more than 100 marched down University Avenue to the Way Christian Center in West Berkeley. There about 300 people blocked both lanes of University Avenue for more than one hour, staging a die-in for 11 minutes representing the 11 times that Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe,” while a UC Berkeley student, who led a five-mile march from Berkeley to Oakland the day before, and a Berkeley High school student testified about the racism and police abuse they face.

Ministers of different faiths led the people in a litany for the day written by Rev. Anne Henning Byfield and read across the country as part of Sunday’s actions.  The litany said in part:

One: We stand today as ONE to demonstrate our resolve to stop the murder of Black men and women.
Many: Black Lives Matter.
One: This is more than a symbolic gesture. We call on the NAME OF GOD to bring liberation and deliverance.
Many: With passion we unite our compassion with determined action to eradicate entrenched systemic racism.

The rally concluded with Pastor Michael McBride of the Way Christian Center leading a chant: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to win!”

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