OAKLAND, Calif. - In light of the impending rallies in both San Francisco and Berkeley, a grass roots group created tens of thousands of anti-hate signs to spread across the East Bay.
Members of the Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's office are fanning out all over Oakland, passing out 20,000 signs inscribed with an anti-hate message.
"A few weeks ago, some committed Oaklanders reached out, following the events in Charlottesville, and expressed some serious concern about potential protests and events taking place here in the Bay Area, " said Michael Hunt, spokesperson for the Oakland Mayor's Office.
Within the first 24 hours of creating a GoFund Me page, the anti-haters raised $3000. (As of the printing of this story, the group had reached $5787 or its $6900 goal.) They hired an artist and printed 40,000 signs, half of which will be distributed here in Oakland, the other half in Berkeley.
"I feel like it's about solidarity and unity, right? And that we're in this together," said Elaine Hamblin, the owner of clothing store Kosa Arts on 19th and Franklin. Hamblin agreed to post a sign in her window and pass out a stack of signs to anyone who wants one.
"Oh, I think it's good to have signs like that so that people know that we're not against- or we're not for hate. we're always for love," Mikkala McGill of Oakland.
The outward demonstration of love comes as nearby San Francisco and Berkeley brace for rallies.
While the San Francisco rally's organizer says he's not a racist, his events have been known to draw white supremacists in the past.
"It's not nice to me because it gets so violent an violence is never the answer," said Sandra Hill, Oakland.
Mayor Libby Schaaf is asking residents to hang these posters in their homes, businesses and places of worship.
"I think in these times when you almost have to stand on a side, it's a way of expressing that," said Armando Chenyek, Oakland.
"We want to send a message that Oakland is not going to be a place that is welcoming of bigotry, racism or anything like that," said Hunt.
The free signs are available at the Oakland Mayor's Office, City Council Offices or at the Oakland Main Library on 14th Street.