Building Bridges, Not Walls: Berkeley, America's First Sanctuary City explores Berkeley's humanitarian spirit and internationalism. Berkeley became the first sanctuary city in the United States at the end of the City Council Meeting of November 7, 1971, when Resolution #44,784 was signed, providing sanctuary for Naval seamen of the USS Coral Sea who were opposed to the Vietnam War. The exhibit will also explore nine more City resolutions passed since that time in areas such as sanctuary for Central American refugees (1985), acceptance of Arab immigrants (1991), a Hate Free Zone (2001), opposition to the Patriot Act (2002), reaffirming Berkeley as a City of Refuge (2007), and finally last February, when Berkeley became a sanctuary city for cannabis.
This extraordinary exhibition revisits Berkeley’s status as the first sanctuary city in the United States. In a November 1971 City Council Meeting, a resolution was passed to offer sanctuary to Naval seamen of the USS Coral Sea who were opposed to America’s participation in the Vietnam War; the exhibition also considers nine other historical moments when the city offered itself as a place of refuge.