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Center Column Archives
On June 25th, United Public Workers for Action (UPWA) called for a demonstration against the privatization of public education when it was announced that US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would be the keynote speaker at Foothill Community College's graduation ceremony. After the UPWA initially received permission from the college administration to stage a peaceful protest, Foothill College president Judy Miner called organizer and Skyline Community College instructor George Wright to ask that he cancel the planned demonstration. Wright was also contacted by counsel at the office of the Education Secretary.
On Friday May 21
, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a day-long public hearing on media ownership regulation at Stanford University. The hearing, which is being billed as a workshop, features two panels with noted speakers from the Communications Workers of America and the Participatory Culture Foundation, as well as large corporate media representatives. Periods for public comment will follow the panel presentations. Two demonstrations in favor of a reversal of the rules that encourage corporate media cross-ownership are planned for 9:45 am and noon.
The International Cannabis and Hemp Exposition took place at the Cow Palace in Daly City on April 17th and 18th. The expo, which had the first permitted area for the use of medical marijuana, was the largest event of its kind to hit Northern California. Prominent members of the cannabis community discussed a wide-range of topics, however the main buzz, on and off stage, was the initiative to "legalize, control, and tax cannabis in California," which is to be decided by voters in the state during the November 2010 elections.
On February 12th, same-sex couples requesting marriage licenses were joined by members of supporting organizations, guest speakers, and the Raging Grannies on the front steps of the San Mateo County Clerk’s office. San Mateo County Deputy Assessor County Clerk-Recorder Theresa Rabe spoke out in support of full marriage rights. She said that the short period in which gays and lesbians were able to marry legally in California was sadly cut off by Proposition 8, which passed in November of 2008.
On January 9, the Raging Grannies joined worker safety advocates in protesting plans by Tesla Motors, Inc. to build an auto assembly plant in Downey, California. Downey is the location of a major film studio built on the site of a former NASA plant that produced spacecraft for the Apollo moon missions. Despite cleanup efforts meant to protect workers from the toxic residue of aerospace experiments and manufacturing, dozens of film production workers have developed severe health problems while working in Downey. Some never recovered.
After Re'Anita Burns and other members of Youth United for Community Action helped shut down hazardous waste disposal company Romic Technologies, The Nation
hailed their action as one of the top 10 youth activism victories of 2007. As 24-year-old Re'Anita enters a second decade of organizing in her community of color, she fights for tenants who need relief from illegal rent increases. She says she is not sure what changes the next ten years will bring to East Palo Alto, but she knows one thing for certain: she will never stop being a community organizer.
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