June 8, 2020 | Protest and Pettiness at the Fountain

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Friends and neighbors:

You may have noticed the past few days some young people out around the Fountain at The Circle carrying out a small protest action in solidarity with those going on around the country and the globe regarding racial justice. They are holding signs and encouraging passers-by to show support.

As a rule, Friends of the Fountain and Walk discourages anyone from using the island in the middle of The Circle for any purpose, as it can distract drivers negotiating an already treacherous roundabout. But these young people have been thoughtful, well-behaved and respectful of the fountain, have cleaned up after themselves, and are doing something constructive at a troubled time.

Sadly, some less thoughtful – let’s just say thoughtless – individual decided to do something far from constructive just a few hours later Sunday evening. The fountain was “soaped” – some kind of detergent tossed in to create a huge bubble bath of foam. This has happened a few times lately, despite our efforts to prevent it.

As always, we are chagrined that someone would not take into account the impacts of their action: thousands of gallons of water tainted and wasted as it is drained away; hours of time required by community volunteers to clean up the mess and get the fountain running again; the shutdown of one of Berkeley’s most beloved landmarks for as long as that takes. It’s a selfish and destructive act, pretty much the opposite of what those few young protesters are doing.

Certainly, in the scheme of things these days, a bit of mindless vandalism is not the biggest worry for any of us. The fountain will be refilled and flowing again soon. But a thoughtless act that injures the community even in this small way is and should be a concern to all of us.

If you are reading this, it means you are interested in the continuing “good health” of the fountain and Fountain Walk. We appreciate that and suggest that if you haven’t already, show your support for the work of FOFW by learning how to join our mailing list, volunteer or donate via the links on our website. Thanks.

–Michael Gray for the FOFW Board of Directors

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  • jean hearst says:

    so sorry for the ridiculous vandalism… wish there was a way to prevent it

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Thanks, Jean. We are doing what we can short of staking out the fountain. We rely on the kindness (and community spirit) of our neighbors to help keep it from happening.

  • Phil Jimenez says:

    Please include me on mailing list for volunteer work.

    • Friends of the Fountain and Walk says:

      Thanks, Phil. We’ll get you on our volunteer list and be in touch as soon as our First Saturday workdays begin again. Or is there some other way you’d like to volunteer?

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