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Center Column Archives
At this year's Fourth of July anti-war demonstration in Santa Cruz, community members called for the release of all political prisoners, including Bradley Manning, Lynne Stewart, and Edward Snowden. The event is held annually at the corner of Ocean and Water Street, and the throng of holiday traffic rolling by slowly, bumper to bumper, was greeted this year with protest signs bearing messages of opposition to the expansion of security culture in the United Sates.
On Sunday, June 2, thousands of people lined Pacific Avenue for the 39th annual Santa Cruz Pride parade and festival presented by The Diversity Center of Santa Cruz. A wide range of organizations participated in the parade, including a contingent raising awareness and support for political prisoner Bradley Manning. Manning is openly gay and has participated in Pride marches and campaigned against the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” restrictions on gay military personnel.
A vigil was held in San Francisco on April 7 in solidarity with the 130 detainees out of 166 in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility that are on hunger strike, who have been refusing food as a protest against their brutal detention conditions. Demonstrators, many from the Muslim community, were joined by passersby as a small contingent of activists dressed in orange prison jumpsuits and black hoods decided to occupy the middle of Market Street in an act of civil disobedience. Solidarity protests have been spreading. Demonstrations have been held in Kuwait, Yemen, New York and Washington DC, and more were organized across the U.S. for a day of action on April 11, including in San Francisco and Oakland.
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.
Ten years ago on March 19, the U.S. bombing, invasion, and long-term occupation of Iraq began by order of George W Bush with the consent of the over 70% of Americans. Ten years ago on March 20, those opposed to U.S. military action rose up to protest en masse by shutting down downtown San Francisco in perhaps one of the largest collective acts of civil disobedience ever seen in the area. On the first day alone, nearly 1,500 people were arrested by SFPD.
On March 15, community members gathered at the plaza in Watsonville to remember people whose lives have been lost to violence. Speakers at the rally included youth, community leaders, and family members of lost loved ones. Artists, including poets, rappers, and painters, shared their skills with those in attendance. As the sun went down, the event ended with a candlelight vigil and universal prayer.
Four years ago, Tristan Anderson, an Oakland-based human rights activist, was shot in the head with a tear gas canister by Israeli military police. On March 13th, on the anniversary of Tristan's injury, dozens gathered in Oscar Grant Plaza to celebrate Global Resistance Day. Global Resistance Day honors Tristan and all who have transcended borders and risked their lives to resist tyranny. Friends and family of Tristan Anderson announced that they will soon go to Israel to press charges against the Israeli police on Tristan's behalf.