Oakland holds 'BBQ'n While Black' to unite against racism

Posted at 10:55 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 22:55:50-04

OAKLAND, CA (KRON/CNN) - It looked like a party and it was.

But it was also a protest, a stance against bias and hate.

The event was in response to an incident that took place last month. A woman called the police on a small group of mostly black people for using a charcoal grill.

"It's illegal to have a charcoal grill in the park here," the woman said during the incident.

It was a standoff that was caught on camera and sparked a national conversation about implicit racism.

"Well, what she did was terrible. To call the police on people picnicking and BBQing is basically denying them of the human right to gather, enjoy life, to eat and live free, especially with the rise of police brutality and murders by the police. She was basically trying to get them killed, which is really scary," said Iman St. Jean, who attended Sunday’s event.

People of all backgrounds showed up at the lake with their grills, charcoal and otherwise, BBQing in the name of unity.

"I thank her for it because we had to have a sacrifice. Somebody had to sacrifice. Somebody had to pick up and say something negative to bring out something positive," Garnet Geoffroy said.

He also attended Sunday’s BBQ.

“We had to go through some fire of criticism from one person to bring out three, five, 10,000 people. So, look at how that is an impact, so thank you," Geoffroy continued.

Aisha Williams believes the woman in the video probably regrets her involvement.

"I think people are going to keep doing this for a long time, but it definitely makes the lake more fun," Williams said.

Police helped facilitate the event on Sunday and it went without any problems.

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