A rally and march in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Mo. was held in downtown Santa Cruz on August 17. On August 9, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses. Michael was reportedly unarmed and holding his hands up while attempting to surrender, saying "don't shoot" when he was gunned down. Since that time, protests in support of justice for the Missouri teenager have erupted all over the world.
A demonstration to protest U.S. involvement in Israel's attacks on Gaza was held on August 14 outside of a fundraiser for Congress Member Sam Farr in Santa Cruz. On August 1 Farr voted, along with most of the House of Representatives, to give Israel an additional $200 million this year to fund their "Iron Dome" missile defense system. One sign held outside of the fundraiser asked, "Where is the Iron Dome for Gaza?"
At its board meeting on June 30, ACLU Santa Cruz County adopted a statement of principle in support of a proposed moratorium on camping ban laws and ordinances within the City and County of Santa Cruz. Proponents argued that criminalizing homelessness, and particularly the essential right to sleep, is a failed policy. It is the intention of the Board that the statement be read publicly before both the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Cruz City Council at their next meetings.
On August 4, activists in downtown Santa Cruz staged a second die-in as part of their ongoing protest of Israel's attacks on Gaza. Like the July 28 die-in, a rally was held first at the Town Clock, where many of the names and ages of Palestinians killed were displayed on name cards. Community members then marched to the Cooper House on Pacific Avenue where the die-in was staged. Individuals laid down on the sidewalk and their bodies were outlined in chalk as organizers read the names and ages of Palestinian children killed since the war began on July 8.
The Santa Cruz Police Department announced they will be partnering with 7-Eleven stores to launch "Operation Chill," which is code for a program that attempts to affect the behavior of kids, and change their perception of the police department, by bribing them with coupons for free slurpees. According to police, since its inception in 1995, police departments have issued more than 12.5 million coupons,or “tickets” to kids in communities throughout the country.
A demonstration was held in downtown Santa Cruz on July 28 to protest Israel's continued assault on Gaza and the people of Palestine. After rallying at the Town Clock, where many of the names and ages of Palestinians killed were displayed on placards, community members marched to the Cooper House on Pacific Avenue where a die-in was staged. Individuals laid down on the sidewalk and their bodies were outlined in chalk as organizers read the names and ages of Palestinian children killed since the war began on July 8.
Citing concerns about water use and contamination, a Monterey County Superior Court judge has ruled that San Benito County unlawfully approved a dangerous new oil-development project near Pinnacles National Park that could result in hundreds of wells being drilled in important agricultural and wildlife habitat in the Salinas Valley watershed. As the judge’s ruling notes, “There are numerous opportunities for toxic spills to occur that the County has apparently not contemplated.”