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In response to the killing of Frank Alvarado, the Direct Action Monterey Network called for a rally on July 12 at the corner of South Sanborn Rd. and Fairview Ave. in East Salinas against police violence. Frank's sister Angélica Garza spoke, saying she wanted justice for "Frankie" and "he had a big heart." For the duration of the rally, Frank's niece held a sign that read "Stop Police Brutality. Justice For My Uncle!"
Frank's niece Natalie Mendoza also spoke at the rally, as did Courtney Hanson and Tash Nguyen of Sin Barras, a prison abolition group based in Santa Cruz, of which Frank was a member. "Frank was an extraordinary person with a big and loving heart," Sin Barras has stated. "His contagious spirit, candid perspective, resilience, and compassion for those who are struggling inspired community-building and understanding around him."
Natalie was calm, sad, well-spoken, and angry when she spoke. She righteously proclaimed, "It's not right. I've never had this much hate in my life for anything else. I'm sad, but I'm more angry than anything else because of how he was gunned down. There was no reason for how he was killed; no way to justify their actions. He wasn't even armed. We just need justice for him, and everybody else, all the other cases that have gone like this. There needs to be justice, and SPD needs to have a taste of their own medicine."
Read More with Photos and Video | Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police | Sin Barras: In Memory of Frank Alvarado // En memoria de Frank Alvarado
Previous Coverage: Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado
|| Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of July 20, 460 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8.
On July 10 at around 5am, two officers with the Salinas Police Department shot and killed Frank Alvarado at a private home in Salinas. Frank was well known in Santa Cruz, where he recently spoke out against California prison expansion at a rally in May. His killing was the fourth use of lethal force since March 21 by officers with the SPD, and all of the killings have occurred in East Salinas neighborhoods.
At the May 14 rally in Santa Cruz, Frank spoke about prison reform. The rally was organized for community members to voice their opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which called for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. Frank spoke strongly about the importance of budgeting state money for social programs instead of prison expansion, and he shared his personal experience of incarceration, describing his release from prison in July of 2013. He cautioned that building more prisons at the sacrifice of schools and parks would lead to devastating results for California. "You will have your hell if you build those prisons," he said.
Community members have gathered in the Salinas neighborhood where Frank was killed on July 10 and 11 to protest
his and the other three SPD killings, and a rally has been planned for Saturday, July 12 at 6pm at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Sanborn Road in Salinas.
Saturday, July 12: Salinas Rally Against Police Violence -Demonstrasion Encontra La Violencia Policiaca
Read More with Video: Frank Alvarado, Fourth Person Killed by SPD, Spoke in Santa Cruz Against Prison Expansion | Salinas Police Silent After Fourth Officer Involved Killing
Previous Related Indybay Coverage: Fight Against Prison Expansion Continues at Statewide Actions Opposing Gov's Budget Revise
|| Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
|| Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas
Direct Action Monterey Network has announced the group will be celebrating Bastille Day and launching the Monterey chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross. On Monday, July 14
a launch party will be held on Del Monte Beach in Monterey, and on Tuesday, July 15
a letter writing party will be held to support political prisoners in California's jail and prison systems.
Direct Action Monterey Network writes:
"Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), has been on the frontline in supporting those imprisoned for struggling for freedom and liberty. Until recently, the history of the ABC movement has been lost to the pages of time. The present generation of ABC collectives were left rootless with little known information about this organization. Now, specific questions regarding our origin can now be put to rest. We have now begun to rediscover our roots."
"The [ABC] also works to build alliances with the communities and the movements the prisoners participated in prior to their incarceration. Through these alliances, we work toward increasing the awareness about various liberation movements and the political prisoners associated with the movements. It is through these coalitions that we continue to ensure that imprisoned comrades are not forgotten by their movements or our own."
Monthly letter writing session for political prisoners, with an emphasis on political prisoners in California's jails and prisons, will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 8pm at Old Capitol Books in downtown Monterey.
Event Details | Direct Action Monterey Network
Community members in Santa Cruz gathered once again along busy Ocean Street to greet this year's Independence Day beach tourists with a message of peace as they drove into town. The weather was warm and traffic was bumper to bumper as long-time anti-war activists lined the streets holding signs and greeting people. The rally is an annual event in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz area veterans were in attendance representing VFW Post 5888, and they held their large "Wage Peace" banner. The Raging Grannies sang, and members of Food Not Bombs Santa Cruz held their "three lane" banner, which is so wide it spans three lanes of traffic when stretched out fully. The rally was co-sponsored by People United for Peace of SC County, SC Coalition to Bring the Troops Home Now, CodePink SC, Santa Cruz Against Drones, the Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting, Raging Grannies SC, Women in Black SC, SC Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Veterans for Peace SC, United Nations Association SC, and SC Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Read More with Photos
Previous Coverage: 2013: On Independence Day, Santa Cruzans Demand Freedom from the Security State
After two and a half years of protests at La Playa Carmel, former workers who lost their jobs in 2011 continue to return to the hotel to walk the picket line and protest. At a rally held at the expensive, Carmel-by-the-Sea area hotel on June 20, two of those in attendance were former workers who had each been employed at La Playa for over 20 years before losing their jobs. "We continue to fight La Playa to make sure that employers around this area don't try to hurt us," union organizer Hector Azpilcueta said.
"When La Playa decided to let go 113 workers, they never thought about us staying here after two years. They thought we were just going to pick up and leave," said Azpilcueta, who is with Unite Here Local 483
, the labor union that represents hotel, restaurant, and other hospitality workers in the Monterey and Santa Cruz areas.
Demonstrations continue to be held as a vehicle for obtaining justice for the former workers, but the union primarily measures the success of the actions at La Playa in terms of the contract victories gained at other establishments in the Monterey Bay area. In 2012 and 2013 Unite Here won contract victories with Monterey Beach Resort, Old Capital Club, and Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley. Later in 2013, the union negotiated the first ever labor contract for restaurant workers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Currently, the union is in negotiations in Santa Cruz with an unnamed business that has agreed to health care for workers in a recent bargaining session.
Read More with Photos and Video | La Playa Hotel Unfair | See Also: La Playa Carmel Demonstrations Continue in 2014
Previous Coverage: La Playa Carmel Holiday Rally Becomes Annual Tradition at Hotel
In response to the recent threat of U.S. military attacks in Iraq, community members in Santa Cruz held a vigil for the Iraqi people on June 23 at the Town Clock. Those who participated in the vigil are calling for nonviolent diplomacy, reparation and repairs, no military intervention in Iraq, and an end to weapons sales in the Middle East. "We are sick and tired of violence being thought of as a way to prevent violence," Marjorie Langdon said at the vigil.
Langdon was one of a number of UC Santa Cruz students present at the vigil who were protesting the connection between the University of California system and war profiteering. "At UCSC we are supposed to be a very diverse, engaged, and active community, but being up there I realize that most students don't realize we are this involved," she said. "The UC system invests in bomb labs and is profiteering from going to war. The UC is getting money this way, and that's not OK."
Other supporters at the vigil included individuals from the Faith communities of Santa Cruz, WILPF SC, the Palestine-Israel Action Committee of the Resource Center for Nonviolence, and Jewish Voice for Peace SC. Organizers say they will be holding similar vigils at the Town Clock in support of the people of Iraq in the near future.
Read More with Photos and Video
After a court hearing on June 3, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office faces disqualification and the remaining four Santa Cruz Eleven defendants are left without a trial date. Judge Burdick is still in place presiding over the case after the DA's office attempt to recuse him, and the case continues to cost tax payers thousands as the defendants continue to fight their charges. Their attorneys have filed a motion to recuse the Santa Cruz District Attorney's office from the case based on bias stemming from DA Bob Lee's financial relationship to the "victim" of the case Wells Fargo.
Friends of the SC11 writes:
"The motion casts doubt as to whether or not it is fair for the DA's office to be hearing the case and delays the trial again as the motion is dealt with. It is likely that the DA's office will request a specific hearing challenging the validity of the claim as it would look pretty darn bad on mister Bob Lee's report card to have this claim on public record. Perhaps this move will motivate him to either get involved with the case and authorize a reasonable solution, or at the very least detach himself from the case and give prosecutor Greg Peinado the ability to move the case along."
Due to the lack of clarity as to who will be trying to the case in trial, a trial date was not set. A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for August 27
, where the motions will be heard. There are also earlier dates scheduled to address motions filed by individual attorneys. Besides the main recusal motion aforementioned there are numerous other motions on the table from the defense including a separate motion to recuse the DA's office for their poor handling of the case.
Read More | Support the Santa Cruz 11 | See Also: A Week Later The Sentinel Does Drive-By Coverage of the Santa Cruz Eleven
Previous Coverage: Parading through Town in Support of the Santa Cruz Eleven
Following the release in May of the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury report
on jail medical care and conditions, one juror reported he was “shocked” at the lax oversight and poor communication between jail staff and medical personnel that led to five deaths in the facility during the past 11 months. While the "normal" mortality rate is around 125 per 100,000 inmates, Santa Cruz County's rate was 10 times that number during that period.
Activists say they are alarmed that these deaths came as the county outsourced jail medical treatment to private Monterey-based California Forensic Medical Group, a decision that effectively placed medical care for jail inmates beyond local control or accountability.
Steve Pleich writes:
"In my view, these deaths are a tragic and unacceptable symptom of a disease. But the real disease is mass incarceration driven by the prison/industrial complex and fueled by institutional racism. Mainstream society seems comfortable with the policy of separating whole segments of our population from their liberty and in supporting a prison/industrial complex that is building new jail and prison cells at an unprecedented rate. So what questions do we need to ask to at least begin to understand and address the grave social issues that this current state of affairs represents?"
Read More | See Also: Santa Cruz Grand Jury Releases Reports on Jail Deaths and Juvenile Hall Meals
| Grand Jury Report Highlights Overcrowding at Santa Cruz Main Jail
, "The movement to create healthy communities begins with appreciation. We want to create a day where we not only express gratitude to the hardworking people who put food on our plates, but also educate the community about the connections between food, climate change, and health. The goal of the day is to bring together youth, farmworkers, community leaders, local organizations, businesses, and public officials to celebrate farmworkers, while creating a platform for the Central Coast community to raise their voices around issues that support the environmental, economic, and physical health of the Central Coast region, the farmworkers, and their community.
"There will be live music, free food, healthy cooking demonstrations, education and speakers from community based organizations, and lots of love, goods, and support for farmworkers!
The event will be held on Sunday, June 15
, Father’s Day, at Closter Park in Salinas, from 11-3pm.
Simba Kenyatta writes:
As a former city council candidate and as a poor, African American, my view of campaign finance reform is markedly different than what I hear is going to be proposed. I think that there should be no private money in public elections, at all. The city needs to come up with a way to finance our elections so that every candidate starts out with the same amount of money, and no more. Of course, the first reaction will be, we can't afford that, and our budget won't allow it. Well, I think we can't afford not to. Middle class people tend to have middle class friends, poor people tend to have poor friends, and there, is where the problem lies.