The first recorded Father's Day commemoration was in remembrance of a mining disaster that brought attention to the plight of working people and unsafe working conditions across the US, when hundreds of fathers died in a mine in West Virginia in 1908. With the holiday's origins in mind, members of the San Jose and Redwood City Occupy groups performed mic check demonstrations at branches of various corporate entities on the San Francisco Peninsula that have a record of anti-labor practices.
As he begins his 37th year of wrongful imprisonment, Native American leader and activist Leonard Peltier will be honored on Tuesday, June 26th
with singing and drumming on Ohlone land at Theodore Lenzen Park in San Jose. Community members will discuss what can be done to secure Peltier's release from prison.
Protests that began on the plaza at San Jose City Hall on October 2nd continue around the clock. The San Jose Police Department has issued many arrests and citations in the middle of the night, mostly for illegal camping. On October 24th, a demonstrator climbed atop a wall estimated to be 36 feet high and five feet wide to protest the continuing police raids. As of 4:00pm November 16th he remains on his perch.
In San Francisco, members of UNITE HERE Local 2 and their supporters in the labor movement marched on Labor Day, September 5th, to draw attention to Local 2's ongoing struggle with the Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt. The march began at Union Square and proceeded to Hotel Frank on Geary, then on to the Grand Hyatt on Stockton Street. Similarly in Santa Clara, hotel service workers of the union UNITE HERE Local 19 marked Labor Day by picketing the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, which has been the target of a boycott campaign launched by the union six months ago. Hyatt workers, who have been without a contract with the hotel, have been demanding recognition of the union through a card-check/neutrality agreement.
On August 17th, opening night of the 2011 Ringling Brothers Circus in San Jose, nearly a hundred activists gathered to protest and to inform circus-goers about the cruelty involved when wild animals are forced to live in small cages and perform for audiences across the country. Ringling Brothers has a history of maltreating the animals under its care, from physically abusing them as part of their training to failing to adequately meet basic medical needs. Animal activists encourage others to help keep the heat on Ringling to drop the use of animals in their live shows. Demonstrations are planned for Ringling Brothers appearances in San Francisco and Oakland from September 1st through 11th
The Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SLIC) drew people from up and down the West Coast to its second annual Disability Parade and Festival in San José on July 23rd. Several hundred parade participants walked and rolled down N. First St. on Saturday morning, many with signs decrying proposed government budget cuts to social services. In the afternoon bellydancers, breakdancers, and inspirational speakers enchanted the audience. Festival attendees wore purple t-shirts with the slogan "Disabled and Proud".
Three San José Council Members and Mayor Chuck Reed are pushing for a bill that would strip city workers of benefits and take away their collective bargaining rights. Activists say the proposed bill is similar to the attacks on workers' rights that were recently rammed through Wisconsin’s legislature by an anti-labor governor. On June 23rd, they called for an end to the city's union-busting tactics in a loud rally in front of City Hall.