Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle
Sam Goody, a regular at protests, stood behind a folding table loaded with T-shirts and buttons on Sunday as hundreds of people gathered at UC Berkeley in anticipation of an appearance by right-wing showman Milo Yiannopoulos.
One of Goody’s screen-printed tops read, “Black Lives Matter,” the letters formed out of the names of men and women who were killed in police-involved shootings. Another shirt decried President Trump in unprintable messages.
Goody has been to nearly every rally in Berkeley this year. At each one, the demonstrations have gotten a little more tense and a little more unstable, he said.
On Sunday, many in the crowd near UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza were veteran protesters, there to take a stand against what they deemed hate speech by Yiannopoulos and his conservative counterparts.
“I’m dedicated to my cause and giving people the means to express themselves in a nonconfrontational way,” said Goody, who lives in the Bay Area. “The rallies are calm and peaceful in the beginning. Then it turns. They have gotten more radical and intense over time. I usually pack up and leave at that point. I don’t want to be in the center.”
His proceeds — somewhere in the $5,000 range this year, he said — go to the Oakland chapter of Black Lives Matter.
A female student wearing sorority letters stopped by Goody’s table to buy a $3 pin and a $15 T-shirt. Goody counted her change from a thick stack of bills, then paused to gauge the crowd size. “Throw the bum out,” someone chanted from a megaphone.
“I’ll probably leave soon,” he said. “This looks like it’s going to get nasty.”
Shauna Keddy, a 27-year-old Castro Valley elementary school teacher who lives in Berkeley, showed up in rainbow-colored clothes. She said she wasn’t “very worried” about her safety, adding that she could move to the side if things got out of hand.
Another frequent presence at Berkeley protests, Keddy said she missed the Feb. 1 planned appearance by Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley, which devolved into a violent melee when anarchist counterprotesters swarmed into Sproul Plaza.
“I think it’s important to show up even if it feeds into the alt-right mayhem narrative,” she said. “Not everyone is committing violence, and it’s important to show that.”
Jaime Abad of Union City, a Yiannopoulos supporter, arrived outside campus early Sunday but was told the shield, megaphone and umbrellas he brought were banned items that wouldn’t be allowed onto Sproul Plaza.
He said he was “super excited” to see Yiannopoulos.
“I’ve done a 180,” said Abad, 50. “I used to be one of these ‘Down with America’ guys.”
Nanette Asimov, Lizzie Johnson, Kimberly Veklerov and Kurtis Alexander are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: @firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Twitter: @NanetteAsimov, @lizziejohnsonnn, @KVeklerov, @kurtisalexander.