Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Berkeley Oak Grove- R.I.P.



Thank you to all who helped in any way in this grand noble effort. Even though the Oak Grove is no more,

the spirit of what existed here is still alive. There are thousands of people who participated in the struggle over the two year endeavor to save this Beautiful and Healthy Grove. All who were involved have lived and experienced what so many are called to do—to participate in issues that are important to them and to the common good.

This website is a testimony to a Movement that brought together a whole community – The Save the Oaks effort was a convergence of a movement of residents, students, faculty, visitors, kids, moms, dads, grandmothers, grandpas, sisters and brothers and alumnae, to stand for something together. We did what many people talk or write books about: Making a Difference TOGETHER.

Did we fail? No? Did we win? Of Course we won? Why? Because we did what politicians have failed to do- we connected together in a common noble goal? We stood together outside of our own selfishness as human beings.

We stood for sovereignty of our local laws and community goals, we stood for our Oaks Moratorium Ordinance, and for environmental sustainability, for a safe site for the UC Student High Performance Sports Facility, for Native American Recognition and Land Rights, for saving an ecosystem that was a home to many species that could not speak for themselves and we stood for free speech.

We were perfect in our efforts? Maybe not—and in that, we proved to the world that we could include those of working class, those of means and wealth and even the homeless and poor, all colors and races, faiths, and abilities and professions and still have impact.

We did not Save the Oaks- but we showed what the University of California along with its elite corps of associated philanthropic powers had stood against.

This is how democracy works- it's messy and it's alive and not sponsored by a Corporation or a non-profit. We did not have a well funded Corporate Media Team. In many instances we did not even get fair coverage.

Be it known that this was a people’s effort funded by people’s money.

And most important of all this was all fueled by of love and to hold something sacred—the Trees, the idea of citizen participation and self determination to save this grove for future generations, to provide for nature to thrive, to honor Native Americans, Grandmothers for the Oaks and Veterans. This was truly an intergenerational Movement.

Show me a Movement that can speak to that.

Redwood Mary

Save the Oaks Supporter, Former Tree Sitter,

Monday September 8th, 2008


We just heard that UC police are right now (5pm Monday) beginning to move to extract the treesitters.

Also, the treesitters released the statement below. We're passing it on.


What the Treesitters Want
By Dumpster Muffin, Huckleberry Finn, and the Oak Grove Treesitters
(Call Ayr at 510 938 2109 for questions)

UC has cut down Memorial Oak Grove. Now that it’s gone, you probably want to know: what do they want? What do the treesitters want in order to come down?
UC has a systemic problem: it does not involve the community in its land use decisions. Community members can make public comments after decisions are made, but have no role during the brainstorm phase or planning process.
We are asking for UC to create a “Community Land Use and Capital Projects Committee” – which will be systematically involved in land use, land management, and development planning decisions, both at the conceptual phase of projects and on an ongoing basis. The committee will be comprised of students, community members, representatives from the neighborhood associations, a Native American representative, and city government representatives.
This committee would be a win-win-win for all parties. Community members would have substantial and serious input into decisions that affect their environment; and UC would ensure a more co-operative spirit and avoid the drawbacks of lawsuits and protests. UC is supposedly a public institution, and it should be governed in a more democratic way involving the public.
We are further asking for UC to set aside a non-trivial amount of money from future football revenues to be utilized to benefit land conservation as well as the Intertribal Friendship House, which serves Native American communities.
Finally, we want UC to return the remains of the “Grandmother Oak” – a tree who was older than the University – so that Native Americans will be able to make drums or other religious artifacts.
Our hope is that these proposals build toward a positive long-term future of a more sustainable, democratic, and co-operative University.
UC has claimed that we were on the verge of coming down Saturday, and the only reason we didn’t is that our ground supporters asked us to hold out for more. Nothing could be further from the truth. UC Police Chief Victoria Harrison told us Saturday morning that the local Native American community would be permitted to enter the grounds of the grove and place tobacco offerings and have a religious ceremony at the stump of the Grandmother Oak on the condition that we came down first. We saw this as an attempt to threaten us, and hold hostage the Native community’s religious rights. We never saw this as a serious offer. Furthermore, Harrison said that our presence in the trees made the ceremony impossible to hold, but we were right here when the Longest Walk was permitted to enter the grove earlier this year, which proves that Harrison’s attempt was simply to bully us.
UC told us that they would meet to discuss our concerns, but only after we came down. Tree-sit supporters have tried to establish a meeting with UC for over 600 days, and UC has continually ignored our requests. We had no reason to trust that UC would seriously address our concerns once we came down.
We remain willing and available to continue the mediation process to bring about an end to the protest and generate a positive outcome that respects the concerns of all parties.
We loved the Oak Grove dearly, as did so many others. Its loss will be a tragedy for this place. We hope that UC will find a way to do something good to show respect for those who dedicated so much for this sacred place.


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