In further evidence that Chelsea Manning is now a resident of the Bay Area, she showed up as a surprise speaker at a Berkeley rally Saturday to address crowds of anti-fascist marchers and demonstrators.
As Berkeleyside reports, Manning appeared before 200 protesters, all of whom were gathered for the "March Against White Supremacy," which was organized by members of organizations like the Anti-Police Terror Group, the Catalyst Project, Anti-Fascist (or "antifa" as they've been called as of late) and Refuse Fascism. While commending the crowd for standing up against police violence, institutional racism, fascism, and white supremacy, Manning shared the sentiment that she has been adding on to the end of her resistance-oriented tweets, saying, "We got this."
Cat Brooks, one of the organizers of Saturday's rally and march, specifically pointed out to Berkeleyside that although it was indeed taking place the day before Yiannopoulos's own so-called "rally" on Sproul Plaza, they were assembled not as a counter-protest, but rather as "a celebration of a united Bay Area against white supremacy." Brooks went on to say, "This is not a response to (Free Speech Week) but a condemnation of fascism, African-American men dying under the police’s use of force and persecution of immigrants."
Berkeleyside has some other photos from the event here, which was also attended by newly vocal Bay Area right-wing personality Amber Cummings, and culminated in a march of about 100 to 200 people.
Manning previously made an appearance this month at Noisebridge, a hacker/makerspace in the Mission. There, she spoke about digital privacy and what her life has been like since she was released from prison. For the New York Times, she also wrote about her experiences living as a trans woman while being incarcerated, and what her life has been like since then as she tries to rebuild and establish her digital identity within today's particularly stringent systems. "These systems leave no room for humanity, yet they define our daily lives. When I began rebuilding my life this summer, I painfully discovered that they have no time for people who have fallen off the grid — such nuance eludes them."
That visit seemed to be part of a tour of the Bay Area for Manning, as she also posted a photo of herself playing with kittens at the Electronic Frontier Foundation office...
... as well as her own shot of a popular tourist photo-op in Dolores Park.
It's been pretty great to watch how Manning handles being in the public eye like this. She regularly gets a lot of hate for being who she is and for her federal crimes, especially on Twitter, but she always fights back against it all with a strong sense of positivity and optimism for the future. Moreover, it's been heartening indeed to see her dive right back into activism and standing up for what she believes in. Following her ordeal dealing with transphobic and transmisogynistic federal prison policies last year, she could (arguably) have been forgiven for wanting to just go underground and be out of the public eye. But she hasn't, and she's showing no signs of stopping to do anything like that anytime soon.
It remains unclear where Manning is calling home, post-prison, but she hinted at her SF appearance on September 12 that she was settling into a new home, and had just bought her first coffee table.