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Center Column Archives
On Saturday, May 24, people all around the world united, including in Santa Cruz, California, to March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Marches occurred on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities. In the USA, demonstrations were held in 47 states.
On May 20, officers with the Salinas Police Department shot and killed Carlos Mejia outside of a bakery at the corner of Del Monte and Sanborn. They said he posed a threat because he was carrying garden shears. The killing was preceded by the SPD killing of Osman Hernandez at Mi Pueblo Market on May 9, and Angel Ruiz on March 20. Angel was shot by three Salinas Police Officers simultaneously in a Wing Stop parking lot. A video of the Carlos Mejia killing went viral, and on May 21 hundreds of people took to the streets of Salinas in response.
Residents and representatives of community organizations in Santa Cruz rallied outside of the court house on May 14 to voice their strong opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which calls for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. According to Californians United for A Responsible Budget (CURB), spending on corrections in the state will rise 2.9%, and total spending on prisons will top $12 billion if the budget revision is adopted. Similar rallies were also held in San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
The healthy 110-year-old tree near the sidewalk at 407 Broadway in Santa Cruz is a Red Horse Chestnut, and it is slated to be cut down to make space for a Hyatt Place Hotel to be built. Gillian Greensite of Save Our Big Trees states that it is the oldest of only three red horse chestnut trees in the city, and the group has issued a call of action to save it.
While reflecting on a long year of labor struggles at UC Santa Cruz, students looking to the future continued to call for the resignation of UC president Janet Napolitano at the 'No 2 Napolitano' May Day rally held at the university. The opposition of Napolitano is central to their fight for justice for workers, especially those who are undocumented. In addition to calling for Napolitano's resignation, students also called for the university to settle a fair contract with UAW Local 2865, the labor union that represents Graduate Student Workers, and for all charges against the UCSC 22 to be dropped.
A series of reports issued by national experts on jail conditions expose in the most graphic detail to date the Monterey County Jail as a place riddled with violence where prisoners are at serious risk of grave injury, where jail officials fail to provide prisoners with adequate medical and mental health care and where prisoners with disabilities are denied access to jail services, programs and activities.
A new report documents, for the first time, widespread pesticide use near California schools, including in Monterey County. Many of the pesticides profiled are used in large amounts and linked to impacts on children’s health and learning. A coalition, which includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, has called for reforms in addressing pesticide use to protect children in Monterey County.