For protesting on the county steps against Santa Cruz laws that make it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night, homeless activists Gary Johnson and Attorney Ed Frey were sentenced to 6 months in jail on June 10th. Bail was set for Ed Frey at $50,000. Their only act of civil disobedience was sleeping. Revealing the political nature of the draconian sentences, Judge Gallagher told Gary Johnson that he “could get some sleep in jail” before they were dragged away in chains for their 6 month sentences.
Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California announced that they are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1st
to protest the conditions of their imprisonment, which they say are cruel and inhumane. An online petition has been started by supporters of the strikers. Key demands include the elimination of group punishments, modification of active/inactive gang status criteria, and the provision of adequate food.
After six months of organizing rallies and actions behind the "redwood curtain" protesting CalTrans' plan to expand Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park, Richardson Grove Action Now took the fight to the state capital in Sacramento, where they carried out a flash mob action. The highway expansion plan threatens some of the last 2% remaining ancient redwoods on Earth.
After more than a decade of legal battles, a decision by a final court ruled against the group Friends of Juana Briones House. The oldest house in Palo Alto, named for its famous resident who was a latina pioneer, is being dismantled, piece by piece. Juana Briones healed the sick and cared for the poor. An elementary school and park in Palo Alto both bear her name. Her house, parts of which were built in 1844, is being destroyed by the current property owner.
UPDATE 6/7/11: Bay Trail and Association of Bay Area Governments Suspends $200,000 Grant to GVRD
On May 31st, supporters of the Glen Cove native encampment converged outside the offices of the Bay Trail project in downtown Oakland to demand that Bay Trail divest from desecration of the Sogorea Te sacred burial ground in Vallejo. Over 65 people gathered in front of the Bay Trail offices and vowed to pursue further action if the $200,000 is not immediately pulled from plans to bulldoze the burial grounds and build on top of it.
A new film, Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health
, exposes the lies about the medical use of marijuana that led the San Diego City Council to enact a virtual ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. Director James Schmachtenberger, who works at a local dispensary, appeared with the film on April 30th at a showing sponsored by Activist San Diego. The film is a bit dry, and even Schmachtenberger describes it as not especially entertaining, but it lays out the facts about marijuana's medical uses and makes the case for allowing the substance to be used to treat disease and preserve health.
Around the world, workers united on May 1st for International Workers' Day — with marches and rallies. Across Northern California — from Berkeley to San Francisco, from Fresno to Sacramento — thousands of workers and supporters stood up for immigrant and labor rights on May Day 2011. Code Pink and others began an eight-day march from San Francisco to Sacramento to demand a just budget in California.