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The Oakland BBQ Becky Protests

Updated: Aug 27, 2018

Resident of #Oakland came out in force the last week of May 2018 to protest the actions of an Oakland resident (nicknamed #BBQBecky) after she dialed 911 to report a group of African-American men using a charcoal bbq at Oakland’s fabled #LakeMerritt.

After video coverage of BBQ Becky calling the police quickly went viral, BBQ Becky became the Internet target of African-Americans and national talk shows to vent their anger.

BBQ Becky actions were viewed as a continuation of the “#Gentrification War” in the city of Oakland where “new” residents to Oakland (often White and rich) use local enforcement to suppress long-time Oakland residents (often people of color) and their cultural traditions. The last notable incident happening in 2014 when a new resident to Oakland (who was white) called Oakland police to complain about Oakland residents drumming at the lake to celebrate the lunar eclipse that night)

In the span of just one week, community groups organized the annual 510 March against Gentrification (organized by local teens) followed by a community rally at the Cleveland Casades (near the location of where BBQ Becky first called the police). This event, which was well attended, was soon followed by an official day of protest on May 21 where over 10,000 individuals descended on Lake Merritt with their charcoal BBQs, low-riders, and music to protest the actions of BBQ Becky.

In addition to the protestors, numerous Oakland restaurants donated food and drinks to anyone who came out to the protest.

It should be noted that the Oakland police (who didn’t want to be involved in the original incident) also attended the BBQ Protest and gave out numerous BBQ tips, as well as taking the time to sample the numerous free BBQ platters handed out to residents.


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