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The Freedom Sleepers celebrated their one-year anniversary together on July 5 with a march through downtown Santa Cruz, and then an outdoor movie screening at Santa Cruz City Hall. After celebrating their one-year anniversary, the Freedom Sleepers have returned to Santa Cruz City Hall for three more sleepouts. The most recent was their 55th community sleepout on July 26. Since July 4 of 2015, a coalition of unhoused and housed community members in Santa Cruz have converged to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness.
A call went out for Freedom Now protests on July 21 targeting the support infrastructure for police oppression, especially police "unions" for their defense of cops accused of brutality. Lockdowns and demonstrations were held in cities across the country. In Oakland, the offices of the Oakland Police Officer's Association were shut down and an entrance to Oakland police headquarters was locked down. A Black Lives Matter educational event for children was held in Oscar Grant plaza, followed by a march down Broadway.
It has become a tradition to celebrate the life of Frank Alvarado with flowers. On July 10, Frank's family was joined by a large group of supporters near the location of his death to mark the second year since his killing by Salinas police. His father, Frank Sr., handed out roses to many of the women gathered, saying the gesture was in memory of "lover boy" as he lightheartedly referred to Frank. His family fondly remembers how dearly Frank loved to give women gifts, and especially the gift of flowers.
Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who shot Philando Castile in his car in Minnesota, took a training course called "The Bulletproof Warrior" less than two years ago. The evidence suggests that this course, and courses similar to it, offered by a private company called Calibre Press, are even worse than Urban Shield — the organized para-military and terror response training put on for police by the Alameda Sheriff's Department. The course Yanez took is now called "BulletProof" and it's coming to San Jose this August 17 and 18.
Thousands are marching for Bernie Sanders' platform at the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia. On July 24, San Francisco activists held a protest in solidarity with demonstrators at the DNC as part of a national day of action, "March for Bernie USA." Marchers gathered in the Mission district cheered and shouted when they heard breaking news from one of the rally leaders that Wasserman Schultz would be resigning as party leader. Bernie Sanders and supporters have long been critical of Wasserman Schultz for not playing a neutral role during the Democratic primaries.
In front of Oakland City Hall on July 11, Leigh Davenport of the Anti Police-Terror Project announced community activists' intention to recall Mayor Libby Schaaf. Primary among the concerns cited as cause for Schaaf's removal from office are her failures: 1) to address the massive displacement of long-time Oakland residents; 2) to support local youth and job centers; and 3) to hold Oakland police accountable for corruption, sexual exploitation, and those they've killed. “The level of discontent is high in the City of Oakland," notes Cat Brooks.
A November 2016 ballot measure for a new Oakland Police Commission was expected to be finalized and approved by the Oakland City Council at their meeting on July 19. Instead, it will be July 26. The measure, originally proposed by the Coalition for Police Accountability and since taken up by the City Council, continues to be watered down and faces new threats from the City Attorney and the Oakland Police Officers' Association (OPOA). Community groups are calling for Oakland residents to turn out in large numbers at City Hall to stand up and demand strong police accountability.
On July 6, activists in Sacramento held a vigil memorializing the 47 people killed in Canada in the Lac-Mégantic Disaster three years ago. The Sacramento Oil Trains Coalition, including 350 Sacramento, ANSWER, Sac Activist School, and STAND, organized the event. The Central Valley rally and vigil was one of over 40 actions the same week across the U.S. demanding a halt to plans to run these explosive “bomb trains,” carrying fracked Bakken crude oil from South Dakota, through cities across the nation.
A report released on July 8 by the Xerces Society shows a sharp two-decade decline in the number of monarchs which overwinter along the California coast. A comparison of the average number of butterflies overwintering in California during the periods 1997–2001 and 2010–2014 shows a decline of 74 percent, a figure that is comparable to declines documented at monarch overwintering sites in Mexico. Listed sites span the monarch’s overwintering range along the Pacific coast and the East Bay of San Francisco
Mon Jul 11 2016 (Updated 07/20/16)
Bay Area Solidarity with Rebels in Oaxaca
Mon Jul 11 2016 (Updated 07/20/16)
Solidarity March in San Francisco with Oaxacan Uprising
Los Insumisxs writes: A teachers strike that began on May 15 has grown into a widespread rebellion in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. 14 compañeros have been killed by the state, including 12 in a massacre on June 19. Join us on Friday, July 15 at 7pm at the 24th St. BART Plaza in San Francisco to mark two months since the strike began as we march in defiance of state repression and in solidarity with our compañerxs on the barricades in Oaxaca.
Tue Jul 12 2016 (Updated 07/18/16)
New Wave of Black Lives Matter Protests Nationwide
The back to back caught-on-video police murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5 and Philando Castile in St. Paul on July 6 kicked off a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country. The people of Baton Rouge and St. Paul have been protesting daily since the killings. Solidarity actions have been held in cities across the country and internationally. Communities have staged rallies, marches, and vigils across Northern California as well. Multiple demonstrations have been held in Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Watsonville.
Mon Jul 11 2016 (Updated 07/21/16)
Justice for Teo: Rally and March in Newark
Justice for Teo writes: Please, join us [on July 14] in a peaceful-family friendly vigil/rally and march for our Brother Teodoro Valencia Jr.. Teo was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend. On March 11, 2016 Teo was wrongfully killed by the Newark Police Department. He was shot intentionally in the back with an AR-15 assault rifle. Our family's goals are to bring justice for Teo, as well as truth and light to the darkness that the police have been using to mislead and oppress our community.
In a first-of-its-kind decision and a victory for police accountability and transparency, an Alameda County judge has ruled that a public agency can't charge excessive fees for police body worn camera footage. The public interest served by the disclosure outweighs the financial burden of the city to produce the footage, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evilio Grillo ruled. The court ordered the city of Hayward to refund to the NLGSF the entire $3247 cost, except a $1 charge for a DVD.
The Anti Police-Terror Project has issued a call-out for all police officers ready to speak up about illegal, unethical or biased conduct by members of the Oakland Police Department or other City staff or officials to take a stand now. Their legal team at the Siegel & Yee law firm has created a hotline to call to report such conduct and can provide legal advice for those who may face retaliation, protecting whistleblower anonymity.
Thu Jul 7 2016 (Updated 07/09/16)
Peace and Dignity Journeys 2016: Dedicated to Seeds
Every four years since 1992, Peace and Dignity Journeys runners traverse the Western Hemisphere by foot, carrying stories, songs, and prayers, re-uniting Indigenous communities step by step. Departing simultaneously from Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the journey culminates seven months later with a final ceremony in Panama. On July 6, runners were received by the community of Santa Cruz at the Beach Flats Community Garden.
The Watsonville Brown Berets are keeping the pressure on Driscoll's, the world's largest distributor of fresh berries, who are headquartered in Watsonville, California. On July 2, the Saturday before July 4th BBQs, the Brown Berets and other community members demonstrated in front of the Safeway on Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville to raise awareness and show solidarity with farmworkers in Washington state and Baja California leading the worldwide boycott of Driscoll's berries, including all products made with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries sold by Driscoll's.
In April, the BART Board passed a law making it illegal to occupy two seats during rush hour on a BART train. The law was not to take effect until the BART police presented their implementation strategy. At the most recent BART Board meeting on June 23, BART police presented how they intend to enforce the new law. Fines of up to $500 will ensure that those least able to afford it become debtors, potentially subjecting violators to criminal warrants and further harrassment. Longtime BART director Joel Keller admitted he wants police to target the homeless.
On June 26, hundreds of anti-fascists gathered on the grounds of the state Capitol, ready to deny access to white supremacists who had announced plans to hold a rally that afternoon. Members of the Traditionalist Workers Party had secured a permit from the California Highway Patrol to rally on the steps of the Capitol building along with other anti-immigrant and racist groups. Antifa forces made certain the rally never happened, despite suffering serious casualties while repelling the Nazis.
Tue Jun 28 2016 (Updated 06/30/16)
Ventura Oil Spill is No Surprise
Tue Jun 28 2016 (Updated 06/30/16)
Crimson Pipeline Has Long History of Spills
Just thirteen months after the massive Refugio Oil Spill fouled the pristine waters off the Santa Barbara Coast, a leak in an oil pipeline in Hall Canyon in Ventura County was reported at 5:30 a.m. on June 23. As many as 700 barrels of crude oil — 29,400 gallons — have been spilled. According to information released by the Center for Biological Diversity, the company responsible for the Ventura oil spill, Crimson Pipeline, has a decade-long history of oil spills in California.
The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco's largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world. Thousands of people attend. The 12th annual Trans March was held on June 24, and this year's theme was "We Are Still Here Embracing Our Legacy." This year is also the 50th Anniversary of the Compton's Cafeteria Riot that occurred in 1966 at the corner of Turk and Taylor streets in San Francisco. At the pre-march event, politicians Mark Leno, David Chiu, and Mayor Ed Lee were booed off stage.
Mon Jun 20 2016 (Updated 06/22/16)
“Welcome to Oaxaca” 2016
The looming federal police attack on the people and striking teachers of Oaxaca, Mexico has begun. There are reports of between six and eight demonstrators killed on the morning of Sunday, June 19 at the highway blockade in Nochixtlán, northwest of the city of Oaxaca. They were shot and killed when police opened fire with live ammunition on the blockade. At least 45 others have been hospitalized with injuries, the majority gunshot wounds, and 22 have been disappeared.
Thu Jun 16 2016 (Updated 06/17/16)
Historic Court Ruling for Net Neutrality
It’s being called one of the most important moments in the history of the internet and a First Amendment for the internet. A federal appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, ruled this week that internet service providers must offer essentially the same protections to users that are required of phone companies. Digital activists are gleefully celebrating one of the most significant parts of the ruling: the FCC can apply its net neutrality rules to cellphone data as well as home broadband.
On June 15, law enforcement officers raided Care By Design and CBD Guild, a medical cannabis grower and manufacturer that tens of thousands of patients depend on across the state. The enforcement comes just days after the company hosted local and state public officials and regulators for a walk-through of their new facilities and to discuss regulations for the emerging industry resulting from the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act passed by the California legislature last fall.
Take Back Santa Cruz, "a non-profit community organization focused on creating awareness and working together to build a better, safer and cleaner Santa Cruz," tried to go silent about one of their most high-profile members facing felony charges for firearms and drug manufacturing. Sixty-year-old James Burtnett of Boulder Creek faces multiple felony counts ranging from illegally synthesizing a Schedule 1 narcotic, to being illegally armed with a firearm. According to court documents, Burtnett was involved in a narcotic processing operation. The illegal lab exploded on September 29, 2013, in Santa Cruz.
Wed Jun 15 2016 (Updated 06/16/16)
Love and Solidarity from Watsonville to Orlando
SOMOS LGBT, a community organization raising awareness on equality and acceptance for all, began in Watsonville nine years ago. On the evening of June 13, SOMOS LGBT held a vigil at Watsonville Plaza to "remember one of the most horrific tragedies committed against the LGBT community." The day before, a mass shooting occurred at a gay nightclub in Orlando, resulting in 53 wounded and 50 dead, including the gunman. SOMOS LGBT will hold a vigil in the Plaza every day until Sunday from 6:30 to 7:30.
On May 31, students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA voted overwhelmingly to endorse resolutions expressing support for freedom and equality for Palestinians and labor justice for migrant workers at Sakuma Bros farm in northern Washington. The three resolutions asked students to condemn the presence of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus, to de-shelve Sabra hummus, and prohibit the use of Sakuma Bros berries from campus dining services.
07/28/16 Tuesday is Still the Night to Sleep at Santa Cruz City Hall After First Anniversary frontpage | police | poverty | government | santacruz07/27/16 Oakland Freedom Now Actions Include Lock Down at OPOA & OPD Headquarters, Children's March frontpage | police | race | education | eastbay | us07/27/16 Frank Alvarado was Killed by Salinas Police for Carrying a Cell Phone in 2014 frontpage | police | race | santacruz07/26/16 "BulletProof" Militarized Policing Workshop Hosted by Santa Clara Sheriff's Department frontpage | police | southbay07/26/16 Cheers at San Francisco Rally as Wasserman Schultz Announces Resignation frontpage | sf | us | government07/25/16 Recall of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Underway Due to Growing Discontent in City frontpage | police | race | poverty | eastbay | government07/22/16 Sacramento Activists Hold Vigil to Remember 47 Killed in Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster frontpage | environment | centralvalley | eastbay | california | government07/22/16 Report Documents 74% Decline in Monarch Butterflies Overwintering in Coastal California frontpage | environment | eastbay | california | santacruz07/18/16 New Oakland Police Commission Ballot Measure to Take Its Final Form in City Council Vote frontpage | police | race | eastbay | government07/12/16 Police Murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in Two Days Stir Renewed Resistance frontpage | police | race | sf | southbay | eastbay | california | us | santacruz07/11/16 Solidarity March in San Francisco with Oaxacan Uprising frontpage | police | globalization | sf | americas
Brown Hires Bruce Babbitt As New Point Man For Delta Tunnels Dan Bacher Thursday Jul 28th 11:34 AM
Legal Action Launched to Protect Western Snowy Plovers From Sand City Beach Resort Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday Jul 27th 5:23 PM
Living Near Agricultural Pesticides During Pregnancy Linked to Lower IQ for Salinas Valley Kids via Californians for Pesticide Reform Wednesday Jul 27th 4:59 PM
Freedom SleepOut #55 To Follow Pacific Avenue Protests Keith McHenry (posted by Norse) (1 comment) Monday Jul 25th 11:39 PM
Tuesday is Still the Night to Sleep at Santa Cruz City Hall Alex Darocy (1 comment) Monday Jul 25th 6:43 PM
Tell Oakland City Council: Let the Cops be the Bad Guys Coalition for Police Accountability Monday Jul 25th 12:58 PM
Environmental racism in the “leftmost city” Santa Cruz Ecological Justice Sunday Jul 24th 10:21 AM
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Philippines: The Contradictions of the Duterte Regime Sonny Melencio Thursday Jul 28th 4:13 AM
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Police: Michigan Dog Breeder Beat Close To Death, Ear Cut Off For Abusing Pit Bulls Animal Liberation Press Office Wednesday Jul 27th 9:17 PM
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Farmworkers Walk Out of Sakuma Fields- Workers Ask for Fair Wages Again Boycott Sakuma Berries Saturday Jul 23rd 2:46 PM
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