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On February 18, demonstrators rallied on Google headquarters property, calling out the internet search giant for being a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a corporate lobby that writes right wing legislation, and is linked to climate change deniers and "Stand Your Ground" laws. ALEC says it "gives corporations a voice".
Common Cause has filed a whistle-blower complaint saying that ALEC is guilty of under-reporting its lobbying expenditures and claims to be a non-profit organization when it actually benefits large corporations.
Activists are pressuring corporations including Google, Facebook and Yelp to withdraw their membership in ALEC. The Raging Grannies riffed that Google should "use the withdrawal method" during the musical protest in Mountain View. Helen Grieco of Common Cause and Brant Olson of Forecast the Facts led a caravan that started in San Francisco and ended in Sunnyvale at Yahoo. They delivered letters to management as part of the campaign to get corporations, including Facebook, to break their affiliation with ALEC.
Common Cause | Forecast the Facts
On February 13, a protest of more than one hundred people, including dozens of family members of Californians murdered by police, was held outside Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office at the State Building in Oakland in order to deliver a letter to Harris. Family members from the following police murder victims were present at the protest: Alan Blueford, Oscar Grant, Gary King, Jr., James Rivera, Jr., Ernest Duenez, Jr., Kenneth Harding, Kayla Moore, Lamarr Alexander, Andy Lopez, Jessie Hamilton, and Mario Romero. The demonstration ended with ten arrests when protesters refused to vacate the lobby of the State Building, insisting on first speaking to a representative of Harris’ staff.
The letter to Attorney General Harris began:
On behalf of the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition, we request that you exercise your authority to open a criminal investigation into the killing of Alan Blueford by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6, 2012. Despite overwhelming evidence that Officer Masso committed multiple acts of misconduct in connection with Alan's death, the Alameda County District Attorney has failed to initiate criminal proceedings and has instead exonerated Officer Masso without conducting any meaningful inquiry into his actions.
Read More |
Kamala Harris - Do Your Job! Prosecute Killer Cops! |
H.H. Bhojani reports at AlterNet that around 10pm on January 29, Vidya Kaipa was on a train car heading toward Millbrae BART station, when Robert Asberry got on around Glen Park, sat down next to her and started to talk to her. Although she felt a little uncomfortable, Kaipa said she “didn’t at all feel threatened by him.” “He was a pretty nice guy, and was making harmless conversation,” she said.
Twenty minutes later, a police officer got onto the train car at the San Bruno station. He approached Robert and asked him to get off the train so he could ask Robert a few questions. Robert refused to obey the cop’s orders, instead asking why he was being taken off the train. Kaipa chimed in, saying, "It’s fine. He’s not bothering me. It’s okay.” That’s when the video starts.
After a brief back and forth, the police officer tases him. Robert collapses onto the floor, howling and crying. The cop drags his limp body out of the way. Kapia repeatedly says, “He wasn’t doing anything.” Other passengers on the train also pointed out the same thing. Robert echoes many times, “I didn’t do nothing, you tased me for no reason.” Other policemen file into the car. While Robert is on the floor, restrained and posing no real threat, he is again tased. Police officers later carry Robert out of the BART car.
Read More and Watch Video
About 2:45am on January 21, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers killed 19-year-old Antonio Mestas in Oakland. According to the police’s version, officers saw a car without license plates at High St and MacArthur Blvd, tried to pull it over, and chased it when the car drove away quickly. After the car crashed at East 15th St near 57th Ave, the driver got out and CHP shot him seven times. At about 9pm that evening, another CHP officer shot and killed 21-year-old Jose Munguia near 54th and Wentworth Avenues. A police K-9 was also shot during the incident and was rushed to a veterinarian. The two shootings happened about a half-mile from each other. In reaction, vandals defaced the front of the CHP station at 3601 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.
On January 24, family and friends of Antonio Mestas held a fundraiser at Cesar Chavez Park in East Oakland to raise money for the funeral. They spoke about Antonio, the media coverage of his murder, and the terrorist presence of the police in East Oakland. The Black Riders appeared at the event, urging the community to organize against the police.
Read More |
Vandals Deface CHP Station |
Antonio Mestas murdered by police. Family and friends speak out.
It was the early morning hours of January 1, 2009, when Oscar Grant was killed by BART Police Officer Johannes Mesherle at the Fruitvale Station. Local protests helped to galvanize a growing national movement to hold police accountable for their brutality, killings, and racism.
On January 1, 2014, hundreds of people marked five years of struggle for justice for Oscar Grant and all victims of police brutality and racism at a vigil at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland. “We are all Oscar Grant,” chanted the multiracial crowd of both young and old. Billed as a vigil, the program included musical and spoken word performances, spiritual rituals, and speakers.
That evening, before a standing-room-only crowd at Bikes 4 Life
, a panel moderated by Tony Coleman and featuring Cat Brooks, Dan Siegel, Nigel Bryson, and Minister Keith Muhammad examined various aspects of the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement, its legacy, and how it continues to shape current events in Oakland. Following the panel, musical artists including Ras Ceylon, Jasiri X, and others performed socially conscious Hip Hop. The evening event was a "friendraiser" for the forthcoming documentary "Oscar Grant: The Rest of the Story".
“We Are All Still Oscar Grant!” - Oakland Vigil Marks Five Years of Struggle |
Oscar Grant 5th Anniversary Event at Bikes 4 Life: photo & audio
Indybay Coverage of the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement
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