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Thousands gathered in the pre-dawn hours for the Indigenous Peoples Annual Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz Island sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) on November 28. This was the 44th year that the event was held to commemorate the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971, according to Morning Star Gali, one of the event organizers and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Pit River Tribe.
In addition to the Yaqui Deer Dancers, the event featured the Round Valley Reservation Pomo Dancers and Aztec Dancers. Speakers included LaNada War Jack, one of the original Alcatraz occupiers, Ann Marie Sayers from the Ohlone Indian Tribe, Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Two Kettle Lakota and one of the original members of the American Indian Movement, and Radley Davis and Mickey Gimmel of the Pit River Tribe.
“As we gather today to celebrate, we do not celebrate the re-write of history that has become Thanksgiving," said Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council. "We celebrate our survival as indigenous people. In reality, on this day so long ago, 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Nation were slaughtered during their sacred Green Corn ceremonies by Pilgrims they had saved during the winter months with their own food."
Read More with Photos
Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT) advised the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education on November 20 to remove its mascot as it is offensive to Native Americans. The school board voted unanimously to abandon the high school's racist Apache mascot.
SSP&RIT stated, “Native mascots perpetuate the myth that Native America is purely historical and devoid of any contemporary relevance”. SSP&RIT said that the use of ethnic mascots touches on civil rights and that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has found that the use of Native American images and nicknames in schools should be avoided.
Speakers who stood in support of the removal of the mascot and addressed the School Board included Antonio “Tony” Gonzalez of the American Indian Movement (West), Kathi Hill of the Vallejo NAACP, Phillip Mehas of the ACLU of Northern California, and Richard Becker of A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition.
See Also: SSP&RIT moves to have Vallejo High School mascot removed
Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes
Andy Lopez was killed by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22. In a press release issued later that day, deputies claimed they first observed Andy walking with "what appeared to be some type of a rifle." After the scene was "secured”, deputies say they "learned" that the rifle was a replica of an assault weapon.
On October 28, the friends and family of Andy Lopez held a Rosario for the 13-year-old at the location where he was killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy on Moorland Avenue in Santa Rosa. Approximately 150 people were in attendance at the Rosario. One community member at the Rosario handed out a flier calling the killing an assassination, saying Andy was profiled, hunted, and then killed like prey by an impulsive sheriff. The flier also questions whether partner agencies are covering up the truth in the case.
On October 29, hundreds of community members in support of justice for Andy Lopez marched from Old Court House Square in Santa Rosa to the Sonoma County Sheriff's department. Before arriving at the Sheriff's department, demonstrators stopped at Santa Rosa Junior College for a short rally. A second march and rally were held on October 30.
On November 5, a “Jailhouse for Gelhaus” march met at the Old Court House Square and headed to the Sonoma County District Attorney's office to press their demand for justice. Community members declare they have but one demand: “We demand Erick Gelhaus be immediately fired, arrested, and Indicted for the Murder of Andy Lopez.” On November 9, events were held for a national day of protest for Andy.
Jailhouse for Gelhaus March |
CA Police Brutality Coalition Calls Andy Lopez Killing 'Police Terrorism' |
Family of Andy Lopez Files Lawsuit Against Deputy Erick Gelhaus and County of Sonoma |
Unity March for Andy Lopez Unites Diverse Communities in Santa Rosa |
National Day Of Protest For Andy Lopez/Día Nacional de Protesta para Andy Lopez (11/9) |
Jailhouse for Gelhaus/Carcel Para Gelhaus (11/5) |
2014 California Gubernatorial Candidate Demands Indictment of Santa Rosa Deputy |
La tía de Andy Lopez en el centro de Santa Rosa |
March for Andy Lopez (10/29 part 2, videos) |
March for Andy Lopez |
Justice Now! Unity March & Vigil for Andy Lopez (10/30) |
March for Andy Lopez (10/29) |
Rosario for Andy Lopez
On the morning of October 22nd
, supporters and members of some 50 families of those executed by California police will converge on Sacramento as part of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. They will demand an end to police violence from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. They will demand proper investigations into their loved ones' deaths — not whitewashes performed by police investigating themselves and District Attorneys refusing to thoroughly investigate the police.
The event is being organized across multiple channels, including families of victims, The Stop Mass Incarceration Network
, and Anonymous. One of the key organizing groups is the Duenez family and supporters. Ernesto Duenez Jr. was gunned down on June 8, 2011, in Manteca, California, in what many have called a police execution. John Moody, who killed Duenez, was cleared of the shooting of Ernesto Duenez Jr. on December 13, 2012 by the county District Attorney, just a day before the police video of the incident was released to the public. And so, with essentially no check, police murders and assaults continue; the ranks of those killed are added to in the United States at an unparalleled pace.
After the rally In Sacramento, there will be another in Oakland at 2:30pm
at 73rd and International Blvd. and one at 4:30pm
at the Fruitvale BART Station. There will also be events held
in Fresno, Hayward, Redding, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other cities in California and across the United States.
Read More |
Oakland events |
October 22nd Coalition list of events
The National Lawyers Guild and Prison Radio will present two films on repression and resistance on Saturday, October 19
at the The New Parkway Theater in Oakland. The Battle for Oscar Grant Plaza
is a short documentary about how the City of Oakland and its police tried to shut down the budding "Occupy Wall Street" movement, turning downtown Oakland into a teargas-filled war zone and injuring numerous people. Manufacturing Guilt
takes on Abu-Jamal's contentious case, distilling a mountain of evidence and years of oft-repeated falsehoods which illustrate a clear and conscious effort to frame Mumia Abu-Jamal for murder.
On August 24, community members marched with the Santa Cruz NAACP to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great March on Washington. The 1963 civil rights rally was also known as the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." In Santa Cruz, those commemorating the day also broadly described their action for justice, calling it a march for "voting rights, jobs, justice, freedom, and to end stand your ground."
Community members marched through downtown Santa Cruz singing classic civil rights era hymns. When gathering at the town clock, one individual was applauded when it was announced that he had been present at the 1963 March on Washington, and several in the crowd raised their hands when asked who had been fighting for civil rights causes for 50 years or more.
Speakers included Stephanie Milton who spoke out against stand your ground and other justifiable homicide laws, and Simba Kenyatta who spoke about how the City of Santa Cruz has never had a black city council member. Kenyatta proposed two local election reform measures: eliminating privately financed elections, and dividing up the voting population into districts. "This is 2013, we still have never had a black city council person in Santa Cruz," he said. Kenyatta, a three time Santa Cruz City Council candidate, is one of the only three black city council candidates to run for office in the history of Santa Cruz.
Read More with Photos and Videos |
See Also: NAACP Action Alert re End Racial Profiling Act
Previous Coverage: Marching in Santa Cruz for Justice for Trayvon and Others Subjected to Racial Profiling
On August 6
, San Jose Justice for Trayvon Martin held a rally at San Jose City Hall, followed by a march downtown where the group circled the federal building. San Jose Justice for Trayvon Martin is "a local mass multi-issue campaign made up of San Jose and larger Silicon Valley community members acting in support of the larger Movement of Justice for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander."
San Jose Justice for Trayvon Martin has adapted the following Demands from Justice 4 Trayvon Martin, Los Angeles: Federal Charges against Zimmerman; FREE Marissa Alexander; No More New Jail and Prison Construction; End Gang Injunctions & Database; and Community Control Over All Law Enforcement With an Elected Civilian Review Board.
It was announced that the next big event planned by San Jose Justice for Trayvon Martin will be a town hall meeting held in September.
Read More with Photos and Video | Draft Statement by Justice For Trayvon Martin - San Jose
Previous Coverage: Trayvon Martin Solidarity Demos Sweep Bay Area
On July 21, the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held a march and rally for Justice for Trayvon Martin and other citizens subjected to racial profiling and Shoot First and Stand Your Ground laws.
Community members marched through downtown Santa Cruz and speakers were heard at the Louden Nelson Center, the Town Clock, and the Santa Cruz Court House. On Pacific Avenue, marchers sang "We Shall Not Be Moved," and later chanted, "Stop Racial Profiling". At the Town Clock, the group chanted "Justice for Trayvon", circled up, and held hands.
Chapter president Deborah Hill-Alston emphasized that it was crucial for community members to "stand up, speak up, and show up," at events like this. "Speak up when there is a need to speak up about any kind of racial discrimination or injustice," she said. "If you speak loud enough, they will hear us in Florida and they will change that and all of the other states that uphold that Stand your Ground."
Read More with Photos and Video |
UC Santa Cruz Students March for Trayvon
Trayvon Martin Solidarity Demos Sweep Bay Area
Following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, on July 13, hundreds took to the streets in Napa, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francsisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. At rallies, candle light vigils, and marches, community members have called for justice for Trayvon and an end to the racial profiling and police abuses that occur on a day-to-day basis across the country.
After the verdict was handed down, emergency protests were organized in San Francisco and Oakland, bringing out hundreds for rallies and marches. Over the course of the week, protests heated up in Oakland where demonstrators blocked intersections and freeways, and building windows were smashed throughout downtown.
Solidarity vigils in San Jose and Santa Cruz were organized by university student groups, and Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized actions in over 130 cities across the country on July 20 to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice prosecute George Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin's civil rights.
Trayvon Martin Rally in the 'Hood
Another response to "A Basic Explanation of Recent Events in Bay Area" Article
The Outside Agitator & White Vigilantism: A Reportback From Oakland
Statement from Hannibal Shakur on Felony Vandalism & the Murder of Black Boys
Hunid (hundred) hoodies bike roll for Trayvon
Nat'l Call Out for Federal Bldg Demos: Oakland
All Out for All Our Babies! Oakland
Report from the evening of July 15 in Oakland
A Basic Explanation of Recent Events (July 13-15, 2013) in the City of Oakland
Oakland Rising! All Out for Trayvon and against Police Violence
No Justice No Peace Rally Hoodies Up
JUSTICE 4 Trayvon Martin!
We Are All Trayvon! Justice for Trayvon Martin! Vigils
National Day of Protest for Trayvon Martin
Justice for Trayvon 100 City Vigil
Candle Light Vigil for Trayvon B. Martin
SF: Justice for Trayvon Martin
Emergency Protest Racist Acquittal of Zimmerman! Justice for Trayvon!
The Justice for Trayvon Martin Movement Grows in San Jose (part 2, photos from 7/21)
The Justice for Trayvon Martin Movement Grows in San Jose
Taking the Streets in San Jose for Trayvon Martin (part 1, video)
Taking the Streets in San Jose for Trayvon Martin (part 2, photos)
At Trayvon Martin Rally, Santa Cruz NAACP asks Community to Speak Out Against Racism
Santa Cruz March for Justice for Trayvon
UC Santa Cruz Students March for Trayvon
Napans organize “Justice for Trayvon” Rally
PROTEST: Justice for Trayvon Martin!
NAACP Releases 'Trayvon's Law' Principles for State Legislative Advocacy
No Justice, No Juice! Boycott Florida Agriculture - Demand Justice for Trayvon Petition
#BLOCK4TRAYVON ~ A Proposal to Block Everything
UC Student-Workers Union Statement of Solidarity with the Justice for Trayvon Martin Movement
ILWU Local 10 Pledges Support For Trayvon Martin Actions
Racist and Deracinated: Towards a More Inclusive White Supremacy
Zimmerman’s Acquittal and the Call for a New Civil Rights Movement
NAACP Statement in the Acquittal of Gorge Zimmerman in the Killing of Trayvon Martin
| Attorney John Burris on how prosecutors failed to win a conviction of George Zimmerman
Justice for Trayvon Martin! There is No Justice in The Capitalist Courts!
Zimmerman: Not Guilty of Cold-Blooded Murder
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Trayvon Martin Murder Sparks Anger Across the Country
On November 5th, 2010, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of Oakland City Hall to protest the light sentence given to Johannes Mehserle for killing Oscar Grant by shooting him in the back in front of hundreds of witnesses. As evening fell, marchers took to the streets and headed toward the Fruitvale BART station, the scene of the shooting on January 1, 2009. Oakland police, however, had other plans. One hundred and fifty demonstrators were detained and arrested, forced to spend up to twenty-four hours in police custody under inhumane conditions. As no one arrested was ever even charged, the arrests and jailing amounted to illegal extrajudicial punishment of protesters for merely exercising their right to free speech and protest police brutality. In a class action settlement between arrestees and the City of Oakland announced today by the National Lawyers Guild, the city has not only acknowledged that the arrests were illegal but has agreed to pay $1.025 million in compensation to the plaintiffs and their attorneys. Additionally, Oakland police have given their consent to abide by a revised crowd control policy meant to avoid such unnecessary harm to protesters in the future and to have their adherence to the policy overseen by the court for a period of up to seven years. The NLG calls the settlement an "important victory for democracy."
Read More |
NLG Victory for Oscar Grant Protesters - Video |
National Lawyers Guild press release on settlement with related documents
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Community Gathers in Oakland to React to Mehserle Sentencing; 152 Arrested in Night March |
NLG Files Lawsuit Against Oakland Police for Constitutional Violations at Oscar Grant Demonstrations
The family, friends, co-workers, and congregation of Amos G. Smith gathered in Union City on April 13 for a candlelight vigil to honor the 26-year-old man who was shot and killed on March 2 by officers with the Union City Police Department. Yolanda Smith, Amos' mother, stood with a sign that read "Union City Police Dept. Murders." She said that officers with the Union City Police Department told her very little about what had occurred that night, only that her son pointed a gun at them and that the two officers involved wound up shooting him eight times in the back of the head.
Family and friends at the vigil held signs for Smith including those that read, "Amos Suffered A Cruel Death," "How Do You Explain the Life You Claim," "Shoot to Yield, Not to Kill," "We Need Answers," and "Union City PD Oath...'Serve and Protect' Not Murder!!"
"We as a community are entitled, and deserve to know how this young man met his death far too early, far too soon, and this is something that is repeated far too often," attorney Adante Porter, who is assisting the Smith family, told those at the vigil.
Read More with Photos and Video
On March 23
, the San Jose Black Berets por la Justicia organized a walk through the city of San Jose, in unity and prayer for the love of the community. The walk began at Lincoln High School, site of the first Barrios Unidos conference, with a sunrise ceremony.
The Walk for Peace is a spiritual peace walk continuing the Black Berets' four directions ceremonies, and there were four stops/ceremonies in San Jose. The first was at juvenile hall, then on to Backdesto Park, Plata Arroyo Park, with the final ceremony being held at Mexican Heritage Plaza. The events are organized twice a year, and the idea is to walk in a good way to honor, and hopefully bring some peace, to those that have died through colonization and all of the resulting traumas that afflict the community, including gang violence, alcoholism, violence against women, and more.
"We believe in the power of the people to create positive and lasting change. This is why we call for unity and dialog against violence across all nationalities and cultures," The Black Berets said in a press release for the walk.
Supporters of the Idle No More movement participated in a round dance during the final day of the Azteca Mexica New Year Ceremony and Celebration on March 17 at Emma Prusch Park in San Jose. "We have been using these round dances to call attention to our Earth, and to call for fighting the corporations, fighting our government, and to protect this Earth as indigenous people," Lakota Harden said to the group before the round dance began.
The theme of this year's Azteca Mexica New Year Celebration was Ce Calli, or "One House". Organizers of the Idle No More round dance noted in their event announcement that, "The Prophecy of the 'Eagle and Condor' is only becoming stronger."
"There is another way. We have lived another way for thousands of years, in harmony with our Mother Earth and all living things, and we do not need to destroy them to survive," speaker Paul Flores said before the round dance began.
Read More with Photos and Videos |
Idle No More
Interrupting the normalization of anti-Islamic rhetoric and actions, Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP) and Street Cred continue to alter the latest anti-Islamic ads posted by Pamela Geller's "American Freedom Defense Initiative" on San Francisco MUNI buses. In these remakes, Geller acknowledges that her struggle (jihad) is overcoming her virulent Islamophobia and racism. Geller's original ad was modified to read: "I'm Pamela Geller and I spread Islamophobia. I don't know why, but it's a struggle for me not to."
BAAQUP and Street Cred write:
"Our work addresses an evolving series of campaigns aimed at disrupting the status quo by awakening people's consciousness. We are Advertising for the People. We believe that all public spaces including public transit and should be welcoming and safe for all members of our community. The hate-filled messages purchased by Pamela Geller’s AFDI defame and vilify Muslims and are harmful and offensive to residents and visitors in San Francisco, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
Since the City will not take action against these ads on City buses, we have.... As long as these advertising outrages continue to appear on our streets, we will continue to reconstitute them to reflect something more truthful, just, and ideally fabulous."
Queer Artists Strike Back at Anti-Gay and Anti-Islamic Ads (April 13) |
Why are Bay Area artists editing Pamela Geller's hate graphics? (Mar 26) |
Bay Area Activists Remake Hate Ads on SF Buses (Mar 17) |
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
The People Speak: "Free Speech Not Hate Speech on SF Transit" (Aug 2012)
Last year on May Day, a boisterous but mostly peaceful demonstration promoted by Occupy Oakland and other groups, was attacked by an OPD assault force. As the march, which had surged around the city center and lake, came back to Oscar Grant Plaza to plug back into the rest of the day’s events at around mid-day, the police suddenly rushed the crowd from behind, causing panic. In the ensuing confusion, Oakland police targeted several individuals. In the case of Prince alone, they went the extra step of tasing him.
Now, nearly a year later, Prince has been picked up on a warrant for a charge generated by the arrest. Like so many arrested during actions of civil disobedience and protest, the district attorney has stacked charges on top of the initial ones, and failed to notify the accused of his arraignments. On Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 the Oakland Police Department sent ten officers to Prince’s home to make good on their warrant. With their rifles drawn, the officers surrounded his home before entering and removing him from his bedroom in handcuffs. He was charged with battery on an officer, robbery of an officer, felony obstruction & resisting, and misdemeanor obstruction.
Prince was being held at Santa Rita jail on $25,000 bail. All charges except for the felony obstruction & resisting were dropped at his arraignment on March 21st and supporters were able to raise the bond to free him. With his first child expected to be born within the month, Prince can now be present for the birth.
Read More |
Indybay's Coverage of Occupy Oakland
On March 5, Michael Walker, aka Ghetto Prophet (GP), co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, was arrested at his home by the California Highway Patrol. Police claimed he was in violation of his parole, but GP has been off of parole since August 2012. At no point since then has the state called him, sent him mail or shown up at his door to let him know he failed to report (which according to the parole office is mandatory and common practice before an arrest warrant can be served).
Supporters believe this is a political attack. Earlier in the day on March 5, GP participated in the Justice for Alan Blueford (JAB) Coalition rally at the Alameda County Courthouse. He had at least two verbal altercations with police and gave a fiery speech condemning them. It is also public knowledge that ONYX is launching a strategic and sustainable campaign against police brutality, with plans to launch a literacy program on April 3.
Given his penchant for leadership and his past record, Comrade GP would be viewed as and important (and easy) member of ONYX to attack. As of March 16, Ghetto Prophet is still being held at Santa Rita jail and supporters are asking for donations to help support his family.
Read More |
ONYX Organizing Committee