Arts & Events
(Don't Just) Sit There… Do Something Will Highlight Absurdity of Sit/Lie Proposal, Call Attention to Ignored Proposals for Real Improvements
On Sunday, October 7, opponents of Berkeley's controversial Measure S will hold events on sidewalks all over Berkeley to educate their neighbors about the measure. If it passes, Measure S will make it a crime to sit down on sidewalks in Berkeley's commercial districts between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Events include a sidewalk children's circus, a yoga class, a barbecue, a tea party, hopscotch, and chalk art. The events are collectively going by the name (Don't Just) Sit There… Do Something.
12:00, University Ave. near Sacramento (north side): Sidewalk Barbecue 2:00, Bancroft and Telegraph (north side): Tea Time 4:30, Constitution Square (Shattuck and Center): Children's Circus
For times and locations of more events, contact Bob Offer-Westort at (510) 610-2150.
Campaign Coordinator Bob Offer-Westort says, "Every event would become a crime if the sit/lie law were to pass. These are obviously innocent acts, which, actually, make our neighborhoods better. Talking about making simple sitting a crime pits people in this city against one another where there's no real division: Both homeless people and small businesses need real solutions for Berkeley."
Elisa Della-Piana, a Berkeley mother of two and civil rights attorney who will be hosting a children's circus as part of the event, says, "We want to put an end to the bickering that happens every time there's another politically-motivated push to criminalize homeless people. We all know that doesn't work. We want to have conversations with our neighbors about real solutions, and that's what we're going to do on Sunday."
Berkeley's Economic Development Manager prepared a list of five recommendations for improving retail commerce in Berkeley a year before the sit/lie debates began. None of those recommendations include a suggestion that the city needs a sit/lie law. As a response to the sit/lie proposal, Councilmember Jesse Arreguín prepared a proposal entitled "Compassionate Sidewalks," which includes dozens of possible solutions for improving public spaces and repairing the local economy. Participants in (Don't Just) Sit There… Do Something will distribute information about the City's proposed solutions, as well as the documented failure of sit/lie laws elsewhere.