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An Active Day in the Bay: October 10th, 2012 San Francisco Bay Area
by RISE ( participate [at] HumanBeIn.org )
Wednesday Oct 10th, 2012 10:38 PM
October 10th, 2012 was an active day in the Bay Area. A group creating a Golden Gate Ecology Center through direct action began to build a greenhouse of all recycled and repurposed materials. A group of activists opened an empty building as a home for the homeless in San Francisco. Occupy the Farm hosted a visioning meeting to design the future of the Gill Tract, a piece of land in Albany that the organization reclaimed and turned into a community farm earlier this year. Occupy Oakland celebrated its birthday and one year anniversary with music and festivities in Snow Park.
October 10th, 2012 was an active day in the Bay Area. A group creating a Golden Gate Ecology Center through direct action began to build a greenhouse of all recycled and repurposed materials. A group of activists opened an empty building as a home for the homeless in San Francisco. Occupy the Farm hosted a visioning meeting to design the future of the Gill Tract, a piece of land in Albany that the organization reclaimed and turned into a community farm earlier this year. Occupy Oakland celebrated its birthday and one year anniversary with music and festivities in Snow Park.

Starting at about noon, the Space Transformers, a San Francisco based organization that held a three day Human Be In in September and prevented the eviction of Kezar Gardens, began to design and build a greenhouse at the site of a 30-year old recycling center, a community garden, and a native plant nursery, and the new site of the Golden Gate Ecology Center. Last week, the Space Transformers built a rainwater catchment system on the site to collect water for irrigating the garden beds with the rain that falls on the roof of a shipping container used for recycling. Next week, they plan to continue building the greenhouse, which will host seedlings and starts of plants for the community gardens there, as well as other gardens in the city.

At 5pm, Homes Not Jails and other homeless advocates and housing activists gathered in Dolores Park to take direct action that they hoped would create a home for the homeless, or at least to call attention to the issue of homelessness and the failure of the city government or landlords and property owners to provide housing to homeless people. Homes Not Jails opened an empty building in the Castro District around 6pm in solidarity with World Homeless Action Day. Within an hour, the San Francisco Police charged the building in riot gear, arresting people and dispersing the crowd. Folks who planned to occupy the building shared food across the street and continued to call attention to the need for creative solutions to homelessness including direct action.

At the same time, a meeting was getting under way across the bay on campus at the University of California at Berkeley. Occupy the Farm hosted a "town hall" meeting to envision and begin to design the future use of the Gill Tract, a piece of land owned by the University of California that was reclaimed in April, 2012 by a large Earth Day march of hundreds of people from the community. The town hall meeting brainstormed questions to be answered regarding the land by a number of working groups in the categories of Farming, Research, Education, and Access and Management. It was also suggested that there be groups to discuss and plan in terms of race, class, gender, and privilege, as well as political and legal action. Some questions the town hall meeting attendees brought to the table included who will be able to access the land, how will the produce grown be distributed, what kind of farming practices will be allowed on the land, and whether models exist for a cash-free cooperative farm.

Meanwhile, Occupy Oakland was celebrating it's birthday, the one year anniversary of the formation of the organization through the building of an encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza, the name the group gave to the plaza in front of Oakland City Hall to commemorate a man shot and killed by the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police in 2009. The birthday party was held at Snow Park, the site of a second encampment created in Oakland during the simultaneous occupation of City Hall. The camps were seen by some as autonomous zones, both for their horizontal organizational framework and a code of not allowing police to enter the sites. These encampments allowed people to self-organize to meet their own needs of food, shelter, and medical care, as well as to allow a space for political discourse, action organizing, and decision making in common space.

Occupy Oakland gathered to celebrate their year as an active organization with music, dancing, food, games, and a slideshow about their year's history, which included a city-wide general strike and shutdown of the Port of Oakland in response to police raids and the eviction of the camp. The community dialogue that came out of Occupy Oakland also led to a sit-in at recently closed Lakeview Elementary school that formed the People's School for Public Education, a community-created school that taught classes for three weeks during the summer, and a free library and garden at the site of a former city-run library that has been closed and abandoned for decades.

Learn more about the organizations through their websites and contact them to get involved.
Space Transformers: http://www.HumanBeIn.org
Homes Not Jails: http://www.HomesNotJailsSF.org
Occupy the Farm: http://www.OccupyTheFarm.org
Occupy Oakland: http://www.OccupyOakland.org