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Center Column Archives
On the evening of September 23, the airwaves were filled with reports of strikes by the United States and its allies against targets in Syria. Quick response in Palo Alto by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center called on SF Peninsula residents to gather and protest. Demonstrations were held in San Francisco and San José as well.
On September 9, the family of Yanira Serrano Garcia announced they filed a civil rights lawsuit against San Mateo County and San Mateo Sheriff's Deputy Menh Trieu in Federal District Court in San Francisco for the June 3 killing of Yanira at her home in Half Moon Bay. On August 18, San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe announced charges would not be filed against Deputy Trieu for the killing.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has released new data showing that the California-based drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014. Fishery observers monitored 34 percent of the drift gillnet sets made last year; they documented that the fishery killed an estimated three California gray whales, six short-finned pilot whales, nine northern right whale dolphins, nine California sea lions and 26 short-beaked common dolphins.
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. It's time for these words to be made constitutional law", said Jackie Speier, U.S. Representative for California's 14th congressional district at a rally in Redwood City on August 26. Women in attendance at the rally wore red bandanas in solidarity and sang in unison led by the Raging Grannies, "We fought this fight before and now we fight again today."
In response to pressure from conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Ocean off California from July 25 through August 31 to prevent entanglements and drownings of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This year’s El Niño conditions, warmer than normal waters, attract the endangered loggerhead sea turtles to the nutrient-rich waters where the deadly fishery operates.
On July 19, the Raging Grannies passed out flyers in front of the Palo Alto Whole Foods store, telling customers why they should boycott Eden Foods, a company that is suing the Obama administration for exemptions to the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods owner Michael Potter wants to stop covering birth control of all kinds, including pregnancy counseling, for his employees. The Grannies sang their message as well, calling out Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who has also publicly campaigned against the Affordable Care Act.
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in Fresno, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of August 17, approximately 1939 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8. A total of 9886 Palestinians, including 2878 children, 1854 women, and 374 elderly, have been injured. 47 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were invading Gaza at the time of their death, have been killed by Palestinian resistance, and two Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian shells.