Justin Herman Plaza was the site of several feminist actions on Saturday, January 26th, as this week marks 40 years since the passage of Roe v. Wade. A Celebration of Women, Life and Liberty began at 10 am with speakers including the famously Limbaugh-bashed birth control champion Sandra Fluke and a myriad of children's activities.
On January 10th, demonstrators protested in Menlo Park in front of a $4.1 million Dream House that is being raffled off to benefit the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. They explained their objection to the Dream House model of fundraising saying that arts organizations should receive public funds from taxes paid by corporations instead of a raffle that is essentially "a tax on the people".
January 11th, 2013, marked the day the unlawful prison Guantánamo opened 11 years ago. A protest organized by Amnesty International was held in Palo Alto's Lytton Plaza. Protesters demonstrated to remind President Obama of his promise to shut down Guantánamo prison and uphold human rights. Participants from many groups gathered in busy downtown Palo Alto to gather signatures and draw attention to the human rights abuses that continue in Guantánamo.
On December 12th, dozens of protesters rallied outside a federal auction in Sacramento against plans to lease more than 17,000 acres of California public land to oil companies for drilling and fracking. Demonstrators fear that opening up thousands of acres of public land to oil and gas exploration would directly undercut the state's commitment to clean and renewable energy and endanger an already threatened water supply. Land spanning Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties lies on what is known as the Monterey Shale, a formation of underground minerals. Oil and gas companies are targeting this expanse for hydraulic drilling.
On October 30, the family of Derrick Gaines, the 15 year old who was shot and killed by South San Francisco Police Department officer Joshua Cabillo, filed a federal civil rights action against the City of South San Francisco. Family members, who are seeking $10 million in damages, hired Attorney John Burris to represent them in the wrongful death action. Burris says, "This is a clear case of racial profiling that lead to disastrous results."
Around 500 peaceful but rowdy protesters came out on September 17th in San Francisco to mark the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. The protest began with several separate actions around the Financial District, which coalesced in a rally in front of the Bank of America building. The protesters then marched to Wells Fargo corporate headquarters, filling more than two blocks with signs and banners, accompanied by the Brass Liberation Orchestra. Separately, similar anniversary events at Wall Street in New York City were met with a heavy police police presence followed by over 200 arrests.
Occupy Redwood City responded with a protest on Saturday, July 14th, within days of a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a new prison in San Mateo County. Occupy members, along with a coalition of organizations all concerned about the increase in prison building, rallied across the street from the Redwood City police station. Former Assembly candidate Joseph Rosas of Occupy San Jose spoke at the rally about San Mateo County's practice of referring juveniles to ICE for potential transfer to detention centers and then deportation.