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Center Column Archives
All around the world May Day has been a day for labor solidarity, immigrant rights, direct action, reclaiming the streets, and speaking out against injustice. May Day 2015 in the Northern California was a busy day for actions from San Francisco and Oakland to San Jose and Mountain View to Santa Cruz and Fresno. Call-outs went out for rallies, marches, flying pickets, the shutdown of the Port of Oakland, a tech commute blockade, and an anti-capitalist/Baltimore solidarity march.
On April 12, the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), in conjunction with Yuvette Henderson’s family, held a vigil and caravan in the name of Yuvette, killed with an AR-15 by Emeryville police. Numerous other demonstrations have been held to demand justice for Yuvette as well. On April 21st, the Oakland police department conceded to community pressure and allowed the brother and sister of Yuvette to view the videos leading up to her murder, which is rare after a police killing, but her family was told that the two most critical events of the day were not available for review.
Suppliers of Driscoll’s, which may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons, are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified. Workers in both disputes have called for a boycott against the company.
On March 9, U.S. Marshals chased the wrong man, leading to Jabari Shaw, a friend, and his daughter getting into a car crash in East Oakland. All three were hospitalized. Initial media reports labeled the “suspect” as a “violent fugitive.” Activists quickly mobilized to counter that story when the man turned out to be Jabari Shaw, a college student, father, and well known anti-police brutality activist. With hospital bills mounting, friends and supporters held a fundraiser at East Side Cultural Center on March 29.
As soon as April 16, the East Bay Zoological Society can begin sectioning off the combined seventy-seven acre “California Trail” and mitigation sites from public access behind an 8-foot chain-link barbed wire fence. On March 27, fifty people assembled to inaugurate a direct action campaign against the “California Trail” project that would expand the Oakland Zoo into the undeveloped 400-acre region known as Huchiun to Ohlone people, commonly referred to as Knowland Park.
On April 14, a call to end business as usual to stop police killings brought demonstrations and protests from coast to coast. In San Francisco protesters took to the streets in La Mission and on the steps of City Hall. At least two hundred protesters went to City Hall and disrupted the Board of Supervisors meeting, chanting "no justice, no peace, no racist police." Simultaneous actions took place in Oakland and Stockton, too.
Afrika Town is a community garden in what was long a vacant lot in Oakland next to the Qilombo social center. On March 26, the landowner came with a bulldozer to raze the garden, backed up by Oakland police officers. Activists quickly gathered and were able to convince the landowner to return a week later. On April 3, dozens of community members turned out to defend the garden. The owner backed down, giving Afrika Town the opportunity to buy the land. Afrika Town is now in dire need of funds to survive.