A Berkeley bakery collective is closing its doors early today so its workers can go to the San Francisco protest of President George W. Bush’s inauguration.
“Everyone is upset because no one on this area voted for Bush,” said Jim Stockton, a worker at Nabolom Bakery in the Elmwood neighborhood for the past seven years.
Two weeks ago, Stockton planted a small placard on the bakery’s counter announcing the noon protest at San Francisco’s civic center. This week, he placed a sign announcing that the 25-year-old collective would shut down at 11 a.m. so its 20 workers can attend the protest.
“Hopefully we’ll see some good speeches and get some ideas about what to do about the next four years,” he said.
Elsie Lee, a baker at Nabolom for the past eight years, said the bakery used to more political but that movement waned for a few years before Stockton arrived.
“Jim brought us back and it feels like we’re starting something,” she said.
Lee said the protest will have two
purposes for her. First, she’s concerned that rent and the cost of living is skyrocketing in this area.
“It’s so high in the area that we won’t be able to stay where we grew up,” she said.
The second purpose is Bush’s questionable election.
“You vote and suddenly they’re taking away your vote,” she said. “It definitely sends a message that it doesn’t count to vote.”
Customers, Stockton said, have shown overwhelming support for the protest and have even left positive notes on napkins and left them on the counter below the sign.
“Maybe it’s because it’s a little gesture and the community here appreciates it,” Stockton said.
Chris Ain, who was reading the paper and waiting for a friend inside the bakery, said he supports the protest.
“I’m in favor of anything that embarrasses Bush,” he said. “Bush annoys me.”