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Center Column Archives
The new documentary "The Ghosts Of March 21" focuses on March 21, 2009, when a shoot-out between Lovelle Mixon and members of the Oakland Police Department resulted in the death of Mixon and four police officers. The documentary examines the encounter’s underlying contradictions and challenges the mainstream narrative of the confrontation. The film opened in Oakland and Berkeley on March 20 and 21, San Francisco on March 22, and Santa Rosa on March 23.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal petition on January 16 with the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect more critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident population of orcas. If successful the proposal would extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. After several drastic declines, only 81 killer whales remain in the Southern Resident population.
Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez was killed by sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22. Deputies claimed they only learned afterward that Andy Lopez was holding a toy gun. On October 28, friends and family of Andy Lopez held a Rosario where he was killed. On October 29, hundreds of community members marched to the Sonoma County sheriff's department, and on October 30 hundreds marched again. On November 5, a “Jailhouse for Gelhaus” march made itself heard at the District Attorney's office: “We demand Erick Gelhaus be immediately fired, arrested, and Indicted for the Murder of Andy Lopez.”
On October 5, the eighth U.S. fur farm raid since July saw 2,000 mink freed from a farm in New Holstein, Wisconsin. Across the U.S., over 10,000 animals have been released since July — a level of activity not seen since the late 1990s. The latest raid also marks the 100th (known) release of animals from a fur farm since the Animal Liberation Front officially began it's fur farm campaign in 1995. The ALF appears to be targeting newly discovered farms, with six of the eight farms visited this summer having been made public in the last two years.
Following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, on July 13, hundreds took to the streets in Napa, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francsisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. At rallies, candle light vigils, and marches, community members have called for justice for Trayvon and an end to the racial profiling and police abuses that occur on a day-to-day basis across the country. Demonstrations for justice continue locally and nationally.
The Point Reyes National Seashore’s ecological heart, Drakes Estero, has been designated as the West Coast’s first marine wilderness area. In June, supporters of the Interior Department’s decision to protect Drakes Estero charged that opponents of the Obama administration’s decision presented “inaccurate and misleading” information to the Sonoma City Council to win approval of a resolution riddled with factual inaccuracies that run counter to established state and federal law.
On January 9, the general assembly at Occupy Oakland passed a resolution calling on occupies across the country to support a national occupy day in support of prisoners. In the following month, over a dozen communities across the nation followed in planning local demonstrations, including those in Los Angeles, Fresno, and Portland. On February 20, hundreds of demonstrators marched to San Quentin Prison where a rally was held in solidarity with the National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.