Statement on Berkeley Protests

Destruction and violence are contrary to progressive values and have no place in our community. I support those who peacefully come together in pursuit of a just and inclusive country that stands united with our immigrant population and the many others who are being targeted in this national political climate.

Unfortunately, last night, a small minority of the protesters who had assembled in opposition to a speaking engagement featuring a prominent alt-rightist engaged in violence and property damage. They also provided the ultra-nationalist far right exactly the images they want to use to try to discredit the vast majority of peaceful protesters in Berkeley and across America who are deeply concerned about where our country is heading.

The decision to invite the speaker and cancel the speech was done by the University, and not the City of Berkeley. The strategy deployed by the police was not my decision, but the decision of the department based on professional judgment of the police department. They did an incredible job under these circumstances and prevented further violence.

I represent a city that stands united for community, for inclusion, and for a peaceful dialogue about the issues, and that stands united against bigotry, united against fear mongering, and united against violence towards anyone. For our community to be a beacon of light in these dark times, we must display our values of inclusion, keep each other and our community safe, embrace our right to peacefully assemble, and show the rest of the country our values in both speech and in action.

Jesse Arreguin