The farm worker movement mourns the passing on June 7, 2015, of Rev. Deacon Sal Alvarez, who played a key role with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the farm worker movement and on behalf of many other worthy causes over seven decades. Sal was motivated by deep faith in a movement grounded in the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings and dedication to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Environmental groups petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to protect the Humboldt marten under the California Endangered Species Act. The Humboldt marten is a cat-sized carnivore related to minks and otters that lives in old-growth forests in Northern California and southern Oregon. Most of the marten’s forest habitat has been destroyed by logging, and the remaining martens in California likely number fewer than 100 individuals.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence took the lead in organizing a protest held in front of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California on June 1. Sister Roma said that it's time Mark Zuckerberg realized that identity is fluid. She and about 100 others traveled from San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area to Silicon Valley to demand that the social media company remove the fake-name reporting option and stop asking users for government IDs.
The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has grown over the past couple of months. On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants — one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles — demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations. The protest was the third in Sacramento over the past year.
On May 24, the 35th anniversary of Food Not Bombs was marked with a six hour party in Santa Cruz. Those needing nourishment were greeted with live music and an especially celebratory atmosphere, in addition to free food, a free market, and a variety of other free services. By combining social and environmental justice activism, nonviolent direct action, and a philosophy that emphasizes sharing over charity, Food Not Bombs has differentiated itself from other global organizations that distribute food to the hungry.
On May 23, families and loved ones of people in solitary confinement, and advocates from community organizations, held the third Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) throughout California. In Santa Cruz, about 25 people rallied at the entrance to the Municipal Wharf, where locals and tourists found two large banners, storyboards exposing the realities of solitary confinement, signs, and educational literature about solitary confinement in Santa Cruz and California.
A local citizen first reported an oil spill coming from a leak in the pipeline at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara at around noon on May 19. Coast Guard crews stopped the oil leak by 3 p.m., but as much as 105,000 gallons were released, with tens of thousands of gallons going into the ocean. The company that owns the pipeline involved in the spill has had 175 incidents (mostly oil spills) nationwide since 2006, including 11 in California, according to a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of federal documents.