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Center Column Archives
On June 1 the Lecturer's labor contract at UC Santa Cruz expired, and union members with American Federation of Teachers Local 2199 and their supporters marked the day by picketing — and picnicking — at the base of campus. Messages in support of adjunct-faculty members and a more democratized University of California system were displayed as individuals held several large, colorful puppets. Food was served, and the day-long event was dubbed "St. Precaria's Picnic."
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence took the lead in organizing a protest held in front of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California on June 1. Sister Roma said that it's time Mark Zuckerberg realized that identity is fluid. She and about 100 others traveled from San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area to Silicon Valley to demand that the social media company remove the fake-name reporting option and stop asking users for government IDs.
The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has grown over the past couple of months. On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants — one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles — demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations. The protest was the third in Sacramento over the past year.
The animal rights activist group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) held their May Day of action in downtown San Francisco on May 23. The activists traveled from cities in the U.S., Canada, and even Denmark, to once again bring their “It’s Not Food It’s Violence” campaign to the streets of San Francisco. Approximately 100 activists took the message to a Whole Foods Store in downtown SF, to a food court inside the Westfield shopping center, and to Union Square.
After seven years of stagnant wages, city workers who have been economically shut out of Santa Cruz marched from the Town Clock to City Hall on May 26 to hand-deliver a letter from the community to the City Council, demanding a response to the need for a living wage, affordable housing and community investment for all. Seven demonstrators were arrested after they stood before the podium and locked arms, and then refused to leave Council Chambers.
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.
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.