Colorful ten foot puppets of religious and inspirational figures swayed their way up the circular steps to the Berkeley City Council meeting Tuesday along with a crowd of interfaith religious leaders, community members, and children.
“Don’t target the poor,” stated one of the signs held by the dignified group. A musician played a traditional Chinese instrument while the participants held a prayer circle sharing prayers from different religious traditions.
As darkness fell, the group took turns reading a letter signed by dozens of community religious leaders condemning Measure S, the anti-sitting law proposed by Tom Bates on the electoral ballot. The clergy letter detailed the absence of community resources for young people, who are often the target of police harassment.
The crowd then decorated two large representations of symbolic community centers they hoped to inspire Berkeley’s policymakers to create someday with prayer flags made by homeless youth.
The art created by the youth from the art jobs and job training program known as Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) depicted a wide array of colors and symbols of home, love, and peace.