Logan Cortez was born and raised in Oakland. She says she helped organize the first 'BBQing While Black' event to bring a message of joy and unity to the lake. 'We are not people to be feared. We are not people to be discriminated against or to call the police on. I think everybody wanted to come out and say that in such a positive and loving way and eat ribs at the same time. I mean who doesn’t wanna come out and eat ribs?' (Muna Danish/KQED)
A large group of people gathered at Lake Merritt in Oakland on Sunday for what organizers say will be a monthly event throughout the summer: "BBQ’n While Black."
The first "BBQ’n While Black" event happened in May after an incident in which a white woman called the police on a black Oakland resident who was barbecuing at the lake.
While that first event was a kind of protest, organizers say the goal has evolved. Now, they want to remind people that Oakland’s identity is rooted strongly in black community and culture.
“People have been barbecuing at the lake since the beginning of the lake’s creation," says organizer Logan Cortez, who was born and raised in Oakland. "So it’s just really a celebration of what we’ve always been doing.”
Throughout the cloudy afternoon, families grilled burgers and hot dogs; DJs played music; and local vendors sold clothes, food and artwork.