Posted by CODEPINK Staff
By Janet Weil, CODEPINK
Love came to the contentious streets of downtown Oakland last night.
The evening march of "Occupy Love" started with a few words of solidarity and then a moment of silence for the people of Bahrain, as approximately 100 people gathered at a park at Telegraph and 19th in Oakland. Chants of "F*** the police" were quickly changed, by me and other women, to "Don't f*** the police!" "Ew!" "I don't want to f*** the police!" We gathered behind the huge banner that read "OCCUPY OAKLAND WE (HEART) YOU" and stepped off for a short march through downtown.
I handed out chocolates in a traditional heart-shaped box, including to a few young men who pulled down their bandanas to enjoy the treat. Even more popular were the Make Out Not War stickers I gave away, which quickly appeared on backpacks, hoodies, jackets. As I marched, I held up the box cover reading "Happy Valentine's Day" and a sign with a Joni Mitchell lyric quote: “We love our loving like we love our freedom.”
There were no police or monitors as we marched down Broadway toward Jack London Square, but we easily and briefly stopped the light vehicular traffic on one side of the wide avenue. Carloads of families and young couples out on a V Day date smiled, honked in support, accepted candies and homemade paper valentines from marchers, and bus riders looked out their windows with surprise and amusement as we passed by.
When we arrived at the police headquarters at 7th and Broadway, we saw a not-so-big line of police standing in front of the doors. A few couples rushed in front of them to make out passionately, while the rest of us chanted, "We're sexy, we're cute, take off your riot suit!" or just took photos or stood around laughing and talking. After a few minutes we walked away, a few blocks further downtown then turned and walked northward, uptown.
The main chants on the march were: "Who loves Oakland? We love Oakland!" and "Make love, not war! We don't want that sh*t no more!"
We returned to the park and the festivities began: young DJs started playing dance tunes, a bunch of us, including myself, danced with great joy, and a chalk art project by children and a few adults made decorations on the concrete.
Biggest hug of the evening: an Oakland Occupier embraced an occupier wearing a Los Angeles baseball cap. NorCal and SoCal solidarity!
IVAW member Scott Olsen made an appearance, carrying his skateboard with a big 510 sticker and showing his Valentine’s Day flair by wearing a pink bandana with a small pink flower in it.
See Occupy Love photos here.
Occupy Love was recorded by several livestreamers and photographers. One young man proposed a monthly "love" march - an idea that got some cheers. "Let's get it started" was the musical line ringing in my ears as I headed toward my BART ride home.