OAKLAND (KPIX) – Dozens of people gathered at Lake Merritt Saturday in a powerful display of unity to respond to a viral video of a man nicknamed “Jogger Joe” trashing a homeless man’s lakeside camp.
A jog around Lake Merritt will give you a snapshot of what Oakland is about — diversity, art, culture, cars — if you ask folks there.
So when the video showing the jogger on last Friday, throwing a homeless man’s belongings into the lake, it wasn’t just an environmental crime, many Oaklanders stood up to say it went against their values.
You can hear people on the video telling the jogger to stop.
“We can all get along. We just have to respect each other,” says Stabe Wilson of the East Bay Stepsiders Truck Club. “Respect is the main word.”
This incident came on the heels of the ‘Barbeque Becky’ incident, when a white woman called the cops on a black man who was barbequing at the lake.
About 40 people came out Saturday to say, ‘let’s all get along, regardless of class, race, or gender.’
Kenzie Smith organized the event.
“Oakland is about unity, it’s always been about unity. It’s about love, it’s about community,” she says.
“We can’t loose what makes Oakland, Oakland,” says Cat Brooks of the Anti Police Terror Project. “We just can’t. And I think there’s an urgency of now.”
There were speeches, discussions and even some whackiness. Two people showed up dressed as dinosaurs.
“We don’t always need to be resisting, screaming and yelling. We need to be together in community, and harmony and break bread together,” says Brooks.
The jogger, Henry Sintay, has since been arrested for a confrontation with a man who saw this video.
As for the homeless man, Greg Markson who goes by “Drew,’ people have donated food, clothes and blankets to replace his belongings.
“It feels good,” says Markson. “The response was quick. I’m surprised.”
A Go Fund Me page has raised $13,000 for Drew. Organizers plan to use that money to get him into permanent housing.