‘Getting lit with a purpose’: UC Berkeley 4/20 celebration proceeds to support criminal justice reform

Ireland Wagner/Staff

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UC Berkeley’s Memorial Glade was covered in a smoky haze Saturday, as thousands of students gathered in celebration of 4/20 to spend time with friends, get high and snack on food, while at the same time supporting criminal justice reform.

The event, called “4/20 on the Glade: HIGHlights of the Bay,” was designed to combine the traditional 4/20 activities with Spoon University at Berkeley’s semesterly food festival, SpoonFest. It featured a variety of local restaurants and was a product of a collaboration between ASUC Senator Stephen Boyle’s office, the UC Berkeley Memes For Edgy Teens Facebook page, or UCBMFET, and the online food publication Spoon University at Berkeley.

“Last year, a lot of people got hungry or dehydrated because they were in the sun for a long time, and the closest restaurant wouldn’t be until Shattuck or Telegraph,” said UCBMFET administrator Rachel Trujillo. “We wanted to help in people having more of an experience instead of what it usually is.”

Boyle added that this year, the campus was “getting lit with a purpose.” According to event organizers, some of the proceeds made Saturday will be donated to FAMM, or Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which, among other issues, advocates for expunging the records of those convicted of marijuana-related felonies. The foundation works on sentencing reform, prison reform and compassionate release programs.

“We are not trying to exploit the people who have the munchies,” said Lilian Kim, the editorial director of Spoon University at Berkeley. “We are just here to have fun.”

Spoon University handled the contracting of the vendors, which included Breadbelly, Out The Dough, FK Frozen Custard, Antonik’s BBQ, Happy Dumplings, and Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas.

In addition to the official vendors, other individuals and clubs on campus also sold food and drinks at the event. Berkeley College Republicans, or BCR, set up shop right in front of Doe Library, selling In-N-Out Burger to a hungry crowd. BCR External Vice President Rudra Reddy said the club decided to attend the event for the “business opportunity” but that BCR itself doesn’t have an official stance on the legalization of marijuana due to its members’ differing ideologies.

For Boyle, the day was also about community. He said the event was an “unspoken” tradition every year, but that by publicizing it, the campus could “build a community around it.”

Boyle added that he has plans to partner with Spoon University to organize the event again next year and said he hopes it will be an even bigger food festival in the future.

“The reason the event is so important to me is because I like to see people from different friend groups or organizations getting together and having fun,” Trujilo said. “Even if they don’t participate in any ‘activities.’”

Contact Katherine Finman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.