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Center Column Archives
On June 8th, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District in San Francisco, ruled that Mehserle's conviction should not be overturned. While the Involuntary Manslaughter conviction was considered grossly unjust, far too lenient and an affront to East Bay residents all too familiar with police violence against communities of color, the denial of Mehserle's appeal comes as something of a relief for Oscar Grant's family and the Oakland community. The conviction prevents Mehserle from ever wearing a badge and a gun again.
Chris Morland of Occupy Oakland's Tactical Action Committee has been repeatedly targeted by police for his outspokenness on issues of economic injustices. He has helped to organize numerous actions around foreclosures and homelessness in Oakland. After a May 23rd "community meeting" called by Mayor Jean Quan and the Oakland Police Department to address the recent police murder of high school senior Alan Blueford, Chris was arrested and charged with felony assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon, the weapon being the bullhorn he was speaking through.
The Winnemem Wintu Tribe will hold a four-day War Dance (H’up Chonas in Winnemem) May 24-27
at the McCloud River site where they hold their Coming of Age ceremonies. The War Dance signifies the tribe’s spiritual commitment to defend at all costs the ceremony from heckling, flashing, and violating disruptions by recreational boaters that have occurred in previous years. More than 400 volunteers from throughout the country, native and non-native, are expected to converge upon the sacred sites to help the tribe close the river and protect the War Dance from interference by boaters.
A Skyline High School senior is dead after Oakland police profiled and opened fire on him. The shooting death of 18-year-old Alan Dwayne Blueford occurred near 90th Avenue and Birch Street in Oakland, early in the morning on Sunday, May 6th. Alan and two friends were standing outside waiting for some female acquaintances to give them a ride. According to Oakland police, two of their officers believed one of the youth was carrying a gun. It is unclear how this was determined based on their looks.
Occupy Wall Street in New York called for a nationwide May Day General Strike. Cities and towns across the United States are heeding the call. Workers will be striking, students will be leaving classes, and banks and other large corporations will be forced to close for the day across the nation. May 1st
, 2012, promises to be the largest American May Day since the Immigrant Rights May Day in 2006 and probably the most widespread and furthest reaching in decades.
Members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe from northern California on Monday, April 16 challenged Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester, at his Vallejo office to protect indigenous women from racial slurs and physical harm during coming of age ceremonies planned for this June. Although claiming to be unfamiliar with the issue, Moore promised to review the Winnemem's request to close 400 yards of the McCloud River arm of Shasta Reservoir for 4 days so that the Tribe can conduct the ceremony. Moore committed to respond to the Tribe's request by May 1, 2012. While closing the river will mean a lot to the Tribe, it will have no impact on the Forest Service, said Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Chief and Spiritual Leader.
On February 26th, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by self-styled vigilante George Zimmerman in Sandford, Florida. Sanford police did not arrest Zimmerman for killing the unarmed teenager, nor even take physical evidence such as Zimmerman's clothing or the handgun he used that night. Police allowed Zimmerman to walk away without charges under the protection of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Rallies and marches have been held across the country for Trayvon, including at least three thus far in San Francisco and Oakland.