Oakland Walk

Join us on October 13, 2018


We're Almost There!

Thanks to the support of all of our walkers and generous donors, we're almost at our $100,000 goal!

Let's make Oakland the 3rd Bay Area Walk to reach this milestone this Fall. The event page will remain open until 12/31/18 and donations help support the work of the Bay Area Chapter of AFSP.

Event Details

Walk Date: 10/13/2018
Walk Location: Lake Merritt - Oakland, CA
Check-in/Registration Time: 6:00 am
Walk Begins: 6:30 am
Walk Ends: 9:00 am

For more information, please contact:
Contact Name: April Collins 
Contact Phone: 707-968-7563 
Contact Email: aprilcollinsd@gmail.com

Online registration closes at noon (local time) the Friday before the Walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the event as listed above. Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.

Welcome to the Oakland Out of the Darkness Walk

to Fight Suicide

When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Walks, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.

Thanks to Walkers and Donors like you, AFSP has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025.

Click the Register Now button at the top of the page to get started!

Quick Links:
Spread the Word Volunteer with Us
Sponsorships Team/Fundraising Incentives
Community Resources Location and Route
T-Shirts Remembrance Activities
Walk Day Details:


Download (JPEG or PDF) the 2018 Oakland Walk flyer to help promote the event in your community and through social media! We encourage you to tell your story about why you support #AFSPOakland.

Post to your Facebook page and add the Oakland Walk link (afsp.org/oakland), or the direct link to your fundraising page!


If you are on Twitter, Tweet about the event. Don’t forget to add #StopSuicide to your tweets!


Remember your LinkedIn connections!


Share your photos! #OutoftheDarkness


Click here to download the Walk Sponsorship Opportunities packet or contact us and we'll send you a copy. ALL sponsors will receive numerous marketing benefits and recognition opportunities.


Want to host an information table inside the Walk Community Resource Fair? Click here to download the Walk Community Resource Partner application (501c3 non-profit organizations only). Space is limited and will fill up quickly so apply today!


Raise $150 by October 13th (the day of the event) and receive an official Out of the Darkness Walk t-shirt! Remember, in addition to fundraising online, you will be able to turn in additional cash or check donations at the registration tents on the day of the event.


Volunteers assist with everything from set-up and breakdown to food and beverage stations, to route support, prize giveaways, and much more! Contact Us to register as a volunteer.


- Walks teams that raise $1000 or more online by September 14th will have their TEAM NAME added to the 2018 Oakland Walk t-shirt!

- The team that fundraises the most online by October 12th (the Friday before the event) at noon will carry the AFSP banner and lead the route!


- Walkers that raise $150 or more by walk day receive an official event T-Shirt!

- Walkers that raise $200 or more by walk day will receive a special gift from the local chapter!

- Walkers that raise $1,000 or more by walk day will receive both of the above.


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.


Losing someone to suicide or struggling with a mental illness can feel like no one understands what you are going through. Unlike other illnesses, it is difficult to look at someone and know their connection.

The Walk is a journey of remembrance and an event that unites a community - a time to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and our loved ones.

We all wear honor beads (available for free at the Honor Beads tent on the day of the event, while supplies last) - each color shows our personal connection to the cause, and helps us identify others who understand our experience.


We'll  have our Photo Display on the collonades and other interactive activities set up again and all participants are welcome to bring a photo of their loved ones to place on the columns. Note: please bring copies of your photo that are not originals in case of accidental damage.moment of reflection. 


Make sure to arrive early to allow time to explore the Walk Resource Fair. Information tables hosted by local businesses and non-profit organizations will open at 9:00am. This is your opportunity to gather literature, hear about upcoming events, and connect with others who are dedicated to making a difference in the community.


This year's Oakland Out of the Darkness Community Walk will be held again at The Collonades at Lake Merritt

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.

Sponsored By

ATU 1555
Santen Incorporated