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Center Column Archives
The third annual Festival del Nopal took place in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday July 22. The festival featured many local food vendors using nopal, or prickly pear cactus, in a variety of cuisine such as pupusas, huraches, salad, tlayudas, baked potatoes, fries, and tacos. The event, founded and coordinated by City Councilmember Tony Madrigal, celebrates the significance of the nopal in Mexican cuisine and showcases the plant's versatility and healing properties.
On Saturday, June 23rd, the Springfield Grange in Pájaro hosted the Festival of Tamales, a benefit for the Grange and Center for Farmworker Families. The menu featured delicious sweet and savory tamales, made with GMO-free masa from El Aguila Foods, including turkey and chile verde, sweet corn, and ollalieberry pecan praline. The tamales were made by local community members using recipes from El Salvador, Mexico, Texas, and the Monterey Bay Area.
Occupy Wall Street in New York called for a nationwide May Day General Strike. Cities and towns across the United States are heeding the call. Workers will be striking, students will be leaving classes, and banks and other large corporations will be forced to close for the day across the nation. May 1st
, 2012, promises to be the largest American May Day since the Immigrant Rights May Day in 2006 and probably the most widespread and furthest reaching in decades.
On May 10th, the Santa Cruz City Council defeated a resolution supporting AB 1081, The Trust Act. The resolution would have supported opting out of the "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) program in Santa Cruz County. On May 25th, over 50 activists entered Coonerty's lecture class at UC Santa Cruz to make his support of "Secure Communities" more publicly known, and point out the contradictions in his "progressive" ideals.
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.
The California coast, from Davenport south through Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Castroville, is Brussels sprouts country. Most of this vegetable in North America comes from these fields, although a growing harvest now takes place in Baja California, in northern Mexico. In both California and Baja California, the vast majority of the people who harvest Brussels sprouts, like those who pick other crops, are Mexican.
Hundreds of students and community activists held a rally at CSU-Fresno in support of the Dream Act. The rally was prompted by media reports that Associated Student president at CSUF, Pedro Ramirez, was undocumented. The news about Ramirez's immigration status was first reported in the CSUF Collegian newspaper and later on MSNBC, the BBC, and other national and international media outlets.