From Oakland, Calif., Sunday came another example of fighting intolerance with brotherly love and a little humor.

The event: BBQ’n While Black on the shores of Lake Merritt. It was a response to a white woman’s complaint to police about two black men barbecuing by the lake three weeks ago, a confrontation that went viral on the Internet thanks to manipulation of a cell phone video. Sunday, hundreds of people turned out for a fully permitted afternoon of grilling and fellowship.


BBQ’n While Black organizer Logan Cortez, a first-grade teacher in Oakland, saw the video shortly after it was posted. “I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “And the fact that I wasn’t surprised bothered me.”

Inspired by 510 Day, an anti-gentrification celebration at the lake on May 10, she sent a Facebook event invitation for five to seven friends, asking them to join her in barbecuing in the same spot.

Her friend Jhamel Robinson designed an electronic flyer and amplified the event notice on Instagram. Next thing they knew, Robinson said, it had been shared 2,500 times. DJs volunteered to spin. Others offered to act as security and clean up.

Unwilling to provoke any other outrage from neighbors, the two 28-year-olds applied for city permits for the barbecue, spending $700 of their own money.

“It’s the community coming together in a positive way as a reaction to what’s going on,” Robinson said. “Instead of tearing up the city, we want to come together in love and unity. And party.”

This follows another amusing reaction to intolerance. It followed a New York lawyer’s videoed rant because restaurant workers were speaking Spanish to each other. He threatened to call ICE on the workers.

A counter-protest emerged — a fund-raising campaign that brought a mariachi band and a taco truck outside the lawyer’s home for a street party. “Ole! Ole!” the crowd shouted.


More tacos and barbecue. Less hate. Sounds like a plan.


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