Berkeley Briefs

Tuesday August 05, 2003


Remembering A-bomb victims 

As a remembrance of a bombing, a group of East Bay volunteers will stage a call for peace this weekend. The Saturday event will mark the 58th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II. For the second year in a row, participants from Bay Area groups including Women For Peace, ProgressivePortal.org, and the Berkeley Peace and Justice commission will float “peace lanterns” in the San Francisco Bay from the Berkeley Aquatic Park.  

The ceremony will feature an opportunity for participants to make their own paper lanterns to float in the water, as well as a performance of traditional Japanese music. The lantern floating ceremony will include a remembrance for the 74,000 killed in Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, as well as victims of all wars. This is the second year for Berkeley’s commemoration event. Similar ceremonies are held every August in Japan. 

“I would like to extend my sincere respect to you all for holding this ceremony every year to console the souls of the victims of the atomic bombings and to pray for the everlasting world peace,” wrote Nagasaki mayor Iccho Itoh in a letter addressed to the city. “I would like to extend my warm wishes for the … continued prosperity of the City of Berkeley.” 

The Peace Lantern ceremony will take place this Saturday at the Berkeley Aquatic Park on the west end of Addison Street. Lantern making will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by a musical performance at 7:15 p.m. and the lantern floating ceremony at 8:00 p.m. 


—Megan Greenwell 


Out to best breastfeeding record 

More than a thousand Bay Area women will set out Saturday to defend their own world record for the most number of women breastfeeding at one place and time. 

Organizers said they did not know how many women would turn out on Saturday, but said they expected more than the 1,130 they had last year to capture the world record. The Berkeley group broke the previous world record held by Sydney, Australia. 

Later this year, the women of Sydney plan to stage their own demonstration again, hoping to beat Berkeley and win back their title. 

The simultaneous breastfeed is sponsored by the California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, as well as the City of Berkeley and Alameda County Public Health Departments and the Native American Health Center. 

The breastfeeding competition is organized as part of the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and California Breastfeeding Awareness Month, which are designed to promote awareness about the health benefits of breastfeeding. Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher will speak at the event to encourage mothers to keep their infant children on breast milk instead of formula. 

“It’s a very important thing because in the U.S. many mothers rely on formula instead of breast milk, which is better for babies,” said Melody Hansen, a national spokesperson for La Leche League, an international organizations that helps educate mothers about breastfeeding.  

“Marketing and free distribution of formula, as well as commercials that make it seem like formula is better than breast milk, really hurt our push to show women that breast feeding is the best way to keep their babies healthy.” 

The breastfeeding count will take place at the Berkeley Community Theater on the Berkeley High School campus on Saturday. Registration for mothers and musical performances will begin at 11:30 a.m. in Civic Center Park, followed by Satcher’s speech at noon. The procession to the theater will start at 12:45 p.m., and the official count will commence at 1:30 p.m. Results will be announced at 3:30 p.m. 


—Megan Greenwell 



BPD Captain breaks glass ceiling 

Stephanie Fleming becomes the Berkeley Police Department’s first woman to reach the rank of captain Thursday when she takes the oath in the Berkeley Council Chambers, 3124 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, at 1:30 p.m. 

A 25-year department veteran and Berkeley native, in 1997 Fleming became the department’s first African-American lieutenant. 

“I’ve had my challenges along the way, but nothing I could not overcome,” Fleming said in a statement released Monday. “I feel like a pioneer of sorts because I’m laying the stepping stones for the other women in my department.” 

Fleming, a graduate from Oakland Technical High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology at UC Berkeley in 1975. She was joined the Berkeley Police Department in 1978, working in the Patrol Division, Property Crimes and the Community Services Bureau. 

Promoted to sergeant in 1985, Fleming was elevated to the rank of inspector five years later when she was assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau. Most recently she headed the department’s Bureau of Inspections and Control. 

Among her honors, Fleming was named PAL Officer of the Year in 1993 and earned the Community Policing Award in 1999. 


—Daily Planet Staff