I’m not a full time occupier, but I do drop by the Camp a couple of times a week. After a leisurely ride around the lake last Thursday, I stopped by the corner I’d been scrubbing walls of the week before.
I could tell instantly that I had clearly just missed something big.
I hung back, secured my bike, and leaned against the railing of the 12th St BART stairs. The crowd was agitated. Someone was on the ground, surrounded by concerned people. Police broke out the yellow barrier tape and established an expanding perimeter – which my bike was now 10 feet inside of.
A few minutes later, ambulances and fire trucks arrived, a gurney was wheeled to the scene, and the injured person was taken away leaving a pile of evidence and blood behind. The cops maintained a peaceful blocking of the crime scene, and life at camp continued, albeit with many whispers. That someone was shot was the only thing people knew.
An hour or so later, the #OccupyOakland Twitter hashtag announced the sad news – Kayode Ola Foster was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital (the same hospital where Scott Olsen was taken).
Feeling once again moved to act, but not knowing how to help, I saw a couple of lit candles and had an idea. I looked up, saw a Walgreens across the street, and decided to buy some more candles. In the candle aisle, I met a young woman who had the same idea. Her name was Mimi, and she had brought her visiting-from-out-of-town mother to the Camp, and they too wanted to help. What they didn’t grab, I took the rest. Together we brought our armloads of candles bought from a 1% corporation, and gave to the 99%. We deposited boxes at several locations where candles were already being lit, and they were put to sombre use.