Oakland Walk

Join us on October 18, 2014

Donate To This Event
Event Details
Where Lake Merritt
Oakland, California
Starts 10/18/2014 @ 6:30 am
Ends 9:00 am
Check-in Time 6:00 am to 6:30 am
Registration Cutoff 10/17/2014 3:00 pm
Donation Cutoff 01/01/2015 12:00 am
Contact Alanna Coyote
Phone 510-387-1040
E-mail Address alannacoyote@gmail.com

Online Registration for This Event Closes at Noon on 10/17. If You Were Unable to Register Online, Please Register On-Site at the Walk at 6:00am on 10/18.

On Site Regsitration opens at 6:00am on Saturday 10/18 and the walk program will start promptly at 6:30am.

The Walk is Scheduled Rain or Shine Tomorrow:

The forecast looks good for us on Walk Day, but be prepared for precipitation and bring appropriate clothing for your needs.

Remember to Bring Your Photos For Our Remembrance Display At the Walk!

We will have our Remembrance Display on the columns once again this year (as seen above). All participants are welcome to bring photos to place on the columns as a part of the display.

Note: Please be sure to bring copies of your photos and not orginals.

Walk Details:

Registration begins for the Oakland AFSP Out of the Darkness Community walk at 6:00am on Saturday, October 18th, 2014.  We will meet at the colonnades pictured above. 

Live music & snacks will follow. Feel free to bring a photograph of a loved one to post on the columns in remembrance.

Don't forget your Team T-Shirts, signs, stickers, or other remembrance items for walk day.

Why We Walk at Dawn:

The Oakland Out of the Darkness Community Walk, held at dawn at Lake Merritt, is multi-dimensional in its symbolism.

The official mission of AFSP’s nationwide Out of the Darkness Community Walks is to bring focus and attention to the epidemic of suicide and to help fund research and support for those suffering from depression and mental illnesses that may lead to suicide.  Bringing “light” to this cause promotes awareness for those who have not been personally impacted.  It also provides a forum for families and friends who have been affected most directly to learn that the historic stigma and shame associated with suicide can be lifted, so that we can work together to find better solutions. 

To arrive between 6 and 6:30 am on a Saturday morning for a 3 mile walk around Lake Merritt is, itself, a declaration of the love and respect still held for those who died in a way that often leaves behind a large degree of pain and guilt.  For some, it seems a small but significant way to annually honor someone who has died by suicide.

For many who suffer from chronic depression there are long sleepless nights followed by days dominated by sleep deprivation.  Their suffering is often suppressed in an attempt to avoid burdening family and friends with the darkness of their internal turmoil.  The Walk is symbolic of the need to provide healthy alternatives for those in distress, encourage them not to suffer in silence, and to enlighten and educate health care professionals.

“Out of the Darkness” also represents the emergence from the darkness of grief enveloping many survivors for months or years after the loss of someone dear.  Returning from encircling the Lake brings a sense of having moved from the darkness of immense sadness to a new place of hope, with a remembrance of how far we have come but also the commitment that we must make a difference in the life of others by carrying forward the knowledge that suicide can and must be prevented by finding a better way for those suffering.

What You Can Expect:

Lake Merritt is circled by a “necklace” of lights that creates a serene stillness in the pre-dawn hours bordering on spiritual.  While gathering before daybreak, everyone seems to have just rolled out of bed, and there is a hushed atmosphere as folks pour coffee or juice or make a breakfast of bagels and fruit. 

As the crowd gathers, conversations become somewhat louder while people don beads provided for them in honor of loved ones and photos are posted on the colonnade near the water’s edge.  The sound technician begins to play some background music.  The slight chill in the air keeps people snuggled in their sweatshirts, yet the level of anticipation of the 3 mile walk builds as the sky begins to lighten imperceptibly.

With the first eastern light, and after some announcements and stretches, the crowd begins to walk en masse around the Lake …some quiet, others talking energetically.  Magically, about halfway around the Lake the sunrise breaks, with glorious warm colors, and the pace picks up.  Looking across the water, with the group of walkers stringing out around the Lake, there is stark awareness that too many people have died, a vivid understanding of the large numbers of people who are affected, and it fosters a shared experience and collective spirit bringing a sense of community to all.

Music plays while a welcoming crowd cheers people returning back after circling the Lake, usually chattering with new friends met along the way.  Gathering briefly for a closing ceremony and after grabbing more coffee or snacks, everyone is ready to go on with their life by 8:30 or 9 am…usually smiling with the sunlight of the new day.

*Online registration closes at 3:00pm the Friday before the walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk! Please know that walk donations are accepted until December 31st 2014.

Driving Directions

Below are driving directions to the public parking under the I-580 freeway (MacArthur Blvd & Lakeshore Ave Oakland California) located just two blocks from the colonnades.  For directions to the Lake Merritt colonnades on Google Maps, please click here (El Embarcadero & Lakeshore Ave Oakland, California) for the closest intersection to the colonnades.

From San Francisco:
Take I-80 E toward Oakland
Take the exit onto I-580 E toward CA-24/Hayward – Stockton
Take the Lakeshore Ave/Grand Ave exit
Merge onto Mac Arthur Blvd

From the North Bay:
Take I-580 E toward CA-24/Hayward – Stockton
Take the Lakeshore Ave/Grand Ave exit
Merge onto Mac Arthur Blvd

From the South Bay on I-580:
Take I-580 W
Take the Grand Ave exit
Turn right at Grand Ave

From the South Bay on I-880:
Take I-880 N
Slight right at I-980 E (signs for Walnut Creek/I-980/CA-24)
Take exit onto I-580 E toward Hayward
Take the Lakeshore Ave/Grand Ave exit
Merge onto MacArthur Blvd

From the East Bay:
Take CA-24 W
Take the exit onto I-580 E toward Hayward
Take the Lakeshore Ave/Grand Ave exit
Merge onto MacArthur Blvd

The colonnades are located between Lakeshore Ave and Grand Ave as shown in the below sketch of Lake Merritt.


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Quick Stats

$86,383.42 Raised
657 Participants

Sponsored By

Palo Alto Medical Foundation
East Bay Claims Association
Clif Bar
If you are in crisis, call
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline