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Center Column Archives
Joining a global day of protest against Monsanto and the genetically modified food it produces, protesters rallied in the cities of Merced, San José, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco on May 25. Around the world protests were held in more than 400 cities, giving popular voice to the growing outrage over Monsanto's agribusiness practices that put small farmers out of business and public health at risk.
In a precedent-setting victory for fracking opponents, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. “This important decision recognizes that fracking poses new, unique risks to California’s air, water and wildlife that government agencies can’t ignore,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, who argued the case for the plaintiffs. “This is a watershed moment — the first court opinion to find a federal lease sale invalid for failing to address the monumental dangers of fracking.”
Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said the Tribe strongly opposes the tentative approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration. “The Winnemem Wintu object to GE production, as it would certainly impact our obligation to salmon and would change the traditional responsibility to salmon and our relationship that exists for thousands of years," Sisk said.
An eviction of a significant number of homeless people at a downtown encampment in Fresno was expected to take place on February 14th. According to residents of the homeless encampment, the owner of the property threatened to bulldoze the vacant lot and destroy everything. The eviction by the owner did not happen. The threat of sending in a bulldozer created enough anxiety among the homeless that at least half of them moved away. A fire of unknown origin in the encampment on the morning of February 14th cleared the remaining people from the area.
On February 14th, cities across the globe joined the One Billion Rising campaign to stop violence against women and girls. In Northern California, participating cities included Fresno, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Oakland, and San Francisco. One Billion Rising began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.
To show support for the Idle No More movement, on January 26th a statewide rally was held on the steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. On the 27th, Ohlone and other individuals of Californian Native American ancestry held a flash mob in San Francisco at the Westfield Mall, where activists asked, "What are you going to do, not to idle anymore?"
On January 26, over 400 people from all over California descended on the rural Central Valley town of Chowchilla to protest the horrendous conditions in the notorious prison, Central California Women’s Facility. Close to 4,000 women are currently warehoused in the facility designed for 2,000.