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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. The organization is comprised of hundreds of autonomous, volunteer-supported chapters that share free vegetarian meals with the hungry around the globe. There are no leaders running Food Not Bombs; local groups use the consensus process.
Hundreds of meals were shared over the course of the six hour celebration in Santa Cruz. A private solar shower booth was set up, and stylists cut people's hair for free. Books, clothing, and plant starts were available as part of the free market. A number of bands and musicians performed together and separately, and social justice organizations set up informational tables. Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry was in attendance, and his birthday was also incorporated into the celebration. Food Not Bombs volunteers joined hands with other revelers to capture and roll McHenry into a giant human cinnamon bun.
Read More with Photos | Food Not Bombs
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.
The first successful Santa Cruz County referendum in 13 years has suspended an ordinance adopted by the County Board of Supervisors to ban all commercial cannabis cultivation. The ban was adopted on April 14, and was to go into effect on May 15. Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz circulated the referendum and after only 21 days filed 11,210 signatures with the county. 7,248 valid signatures are required to qualify the referendum for the ballot.
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer announced just two months ago that glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto's pesticide RoundUp, is probably carcinogenic to humans. The time was ripe to demand a ban on the herbicide with protests internationally on May 23. In San Francisco, many demonstrators dressed as bees and butterflies, while others portrayed mutated evil Monsanto managers.
On May 8, approximately 300 people took over San Francisco City Hall to deliver their messages about the untenable evictions that are now occurring in the City. The protest included an ethnic ritual, chants, testimonials by victims of the evictions, and a walk around San Francisco City Hall’s political chambers to deliver their messages personally to the Supervisors and Mayor. The protest was loud and was peaceful. Sheriff's deputies did confiscate the protesters banners.
The Mission District neighborhood is ground zero for the gentrification that is occurring in San Francisco. The coalition on homelessness released a report created from a survey that stated, “Many poor people in the Mission feel vulnerable to police harassment and displacement. Some members of our community, including youth, elderly and disabled people, homeless and marginally housed people, people of color and transgender residents, have been subjected to more intense policing as the neighborhood gentrifies.” The anti-eviction mapping project indicates there has been a 54.7% increase in evictions this year. There have been over 2,000 units evicted in 2015 alone. Many victims of the evictions claim the local government is not doing enough to stop them, so the community has organized and is now taking their message to the Mayor’s front door.
Read More with Video and Photos |
The Mission Takes City Hall!
Related Indybay Feature:
People’s City Council Supplants Oakland City Council To Stop Vote on E12th St Development
On May 5, Black.Seed, Asians4BlackLives, and allies shut down the Oakland City Council and held a People's City Council against a proposed development on East 12th Street. The development, up for a vote at that evening's city council meeting, includes no affordable housing and links to the larger wave of displacement being felt throughout Oakland and the Bay Area. According to the activists, the high-rise luxury condos include one bedrooms priced at upwards of $3,150/month. The condos are proposed by Urban Core and real estate firm UDR. The activists stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, linking gentrification to increased policing, and criminalization of Black and Brown people.
The People’s City Council opened their meeting by allowing impacted individuals from Eastlake and Oakland to speak before the council. Residents, educators, workers, and those displaced, all spoke of their inability to live in the city they call home. The organizers of the event were sure to note that there were no time limits for speakers. Through a megaphone, one organizer critiqued the city council, saying, “We can dream bigger than cops and condos for our city.”
Read More |
People's City Council Steps into Action in Oakland City Hall to Save E12th Street (VIDEO) |
Rally to #SaveE12th - Public Land for Public Good!
Related Indybay Feature:
Housing Activists Take Over San Francisco City Hall
All around the world May Day has been a day for labor solidarity, immigrant rights, direct action, reclaiming the streets, and speaking out against injustice. May Day 2015 in the Northern California was a busy day for actions from San Francisco and Oakland to San Jose and Mountain View to Santa Cruz and Fresno. Call-outs went out for rallies, marches, flying pickets, the shutdown of the Port of Oakland, a tech commute blockade, and an anti-capitalist/Baltimore solidarity march.
A group of about 100 homeless people and their supporters attended the Tulare City Council meeting on April 21 calling for specific changes in public policy. The group, which delivered a petition signed by over 1,000 residents, called for improvements in the way homeless people are treated by the police, a safe place to sleep and equal rights. The Union of Hope in Tulare filled the City Council chambers with an overflow crowd. There was standing room only. This was the statement they delivered to the mayor and council members:
We thank you for this opportunity to address this issue that we want to bring to your attention. The issue is the poor treatment of houseless people here and the lack of a long term solution to the problem in this beautiful city. According to the Homeless Central California Area Social Services Consortium 2015 there are 595 houseless persons in our County, and in our city of Tulare there are 100. We find it deplorable that three houseless persons have died already this year, and Raul Galegos encountered a houseless mother with her 8-month-old child who were both as cold as ice. The houseless have reported being assaulted, having bones broken, and their belongings taken. These people are residents of Tulare and as such deserve to have access to shelter and provisions in their time of need. They deserve to be protected and not assaulted. They are human beings and they need to have access to emergency shelter in the heat of summer and the cold of winter. It is time to stop kicking this particular can down the road. The houseless need solutions, not a cold shoulder.
The annual Walk to Stop the Silence was launched nine years ago in order to break through the silence surrounding the issue of sexual abuse and provide a healing space for survivors. The event is always well-attended, but this year, on April 11, the crowd was noticeably packed with families and young people whose energy led the walk with chants such as, "Walk to Stop the Silence!" and "Sí se puede!" While the topic of childhood sexual abuse is difficult to confront, the tone of the day was one of strength and resilience, and the Watsonville Plaza was filled with brightly colored art displays and over a dozen tabling organizations.
According to Maria Rodriguez-Castillo, who founded the walk, one in five girls and one in seven boys are victims of sexual assault before the age of eighteen. She also noted that 90% of the time, the person committing the assault is someone the child already knows. As part of breaking the silence, Rodriguez-Castillo emphasized the importance of people speaking up if they notice suspicious behavior in their community. Since those victimized are often afraid to speak about their experiences, intervention must be a community-led effort, she relayed to the crowd.
Read More with Photos
As soon as April 16, the East Bay Zoological Society can begin sectioning off the combined seventy-seven acre “California Trail” and mitigation sites from public access behind an 8-foot chain-link barbed wire fence. On March 27, fifty people assembled to inaugurate a direct action campaign against the “California Trail” project that would expand the Oakland Zoo into the undeveloped 400-acre region known as Huchiun to Ohlone people, commonly referred to as Knowland Park.
A new report
released by Californians for Pesticide Reform asserts that fumigant pesticides are an outdated, toxic technology that undermines soil health, and safe replacements are needed to grow food on the Central Coast of California. The report examines data that revealed cancer-causing chloropicrin is in the air where Monterey County children live and play, and shares monitoring results that confirm chloropicrin in the city of Watsonville’s air poses an increased cancer risk, despite state required “safer tarps” and "buffer zones".
In 2012, Monterey County was the sixth highest pesticide use county in the state, applying more than 9.2 million pounds of agricultural pesticides. Half (50%) of this use came from just five fumigants: chloropicrin, Telone, methyl bromide, metam sodium and metam potassium. That same year, Santa Cruz County applied 1.7 million pounds of agricultural pesticides, with more than 80% of this use coming from the same five fumigants. Californians for Pesticide Reform urges the California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation to immediately protect Californians by: establishing protection zones, requiring neighbor notification for all fumigants, developing stronger regulations on chloropicrin use, and committing to reduce fumigant use.
Highlighting recent race data from the Department of Public Health (DPH), Dr. Ann Lopez, Executive Director of the Center for Farmworker Families found that Latino children are the children most often in harm’s way of pesticide threats, especially in Monterey Bay region. “The DPH study last April reported that Latino children in California were 91% more likely than white children to attend schools within ¼-mile of the heaviest use of hazardous pesticides. We’ve just learned from DPH that in Monterey County, Latino schoolchildren are 320% more likely to attend schools with the highest pesticide use nearby. It’s deeply troubling; it’s environmental racism,” Dr. Lopez stated.
Read More | New Report: Cancer-causing pesticide found in the air; Chavez Day call for reform | Californians for Pesticide Reform
Previous Coverage: California's New “Recommended Restrictions” for Chloropicrin are Inadequate
|| Groundbreaking Report Finds High Rates of Pesticide Use Near Monterey County Schools
The only oil company to sue San Benito County over a local ban on fracking and other high-intensity petroleum operations announced on April 6 it has dropped its lawsuit, leaving the voter-approved ordinance in place. Citadel Exploration’s decision to dismiss its own case means that local fracking bans in California face no remaining active legal challenges, despite threats from the oil industry.
Community members opposing the City of Monterey's new sit-lie ban held their third sit-in on Alvarado Street on April 3. Individuals with Direct Action Monterey Network (DAMN) and other supporters returned to the same location of the previous two demonstrations and faced increased pressure from business owners, who expressed more aggressively their desire for the group to either move the location of their gathering, or leave the downtown area altogether and stop protesting.
The sit-lie ban, which was approved by the Monterey City Council in the summer of 2014, went into effect in October. Sitting or lying on commercial sidewalks in the city is now a crime between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm. To receive a citation, an individual must first be warned by police. "No person may be cited for a violation of this section until a peace officer first warns said person that his or her conduct is unlawful and said person is given a change [chance] to stop said conduct," the ordinance reads.
In response, demonstrators have scheduled protests to occur monthly, so that people can sit on the sidewalk freely and participate every month without risk of citation. "If they really want to have such a discriminatory law (which clearly targets homeless people and travelers), then let's clog their bureaucracies with lot's of citations! There are no fines if you don't do it again for 30 days," a statement announcing the intent of the sit-lie protest explained.
Read More with Photos and Video | Direct Action Monterey Network (DAMN) | See Also: Community Members Continue to Protest the Sit-Lie Ban in Monterey
Previous Coverage: New Sit-Lie Ban Protested in Monterey
1PM Thursday Jun 11
CARA SF CAT Meeting