Chan said he witnessed protesters marching through Chinatown after the death of Oscar Grant, so he and other community members decided to put out word to the community to be prepared in the event violence breaks out, though he was not aware of any yet Thursday.
At about 2 p.m. when they learned the jury had reached a verdict, merchants in Chinatown began pulling in merchandise from sidewalks and closing their doors. Chan said most believed that people would not be dining out or shopping anyway.
Several groups began gathering in downtown Oakland Thursday evening in the wake of the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Mehserle.
A spokeswoman for the Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant says the group will hold a rally at 6 p.m. at Broadway and 14th Street.
Other groups, including By Any Means Necessary, also plan to join the 6 p.m. rally.
Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks said in a statement that a separate rally, sponsored by the Community Working for Peace, Healing and Justice, will be held at Frank Ogawa Plaza near the corner of Broadway and 14th Street from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Brooks said the rally will include religious leaders, family and friends of Grant, elected officials and live music.
Five community centers and youth organizations have been listed on the city of Oakland's website as places for people to "express yourself in positive ways."
The locations are the East Bay Asian Youth Center at 2025 E. 12th St.; the Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center at 7701 Krause Ave.; the Mosswood Recreation Center at 3612 Webster St.; Youth UpRising at 8711 MacArthur Blvd.; and Attitudinal Healing Connection at 3278 West St.
A statement was released by Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts, Mayor Ron Dellums and the City Council encouraging the community to "express...grief in a healthy manner that will not endanger our safety, livelihood or reputation as a city."
"We are asking for the community to come together, look out for one another and stay safe," the statement read. "We will not tolerate destruction or violence. We live here, and we love Oakland."