Feature Archives

Mon Jun 6 2016 (Updated 06/08/16)
California Almost Mattered This Time, Sort Of
California is the most populous state in the nation, yet the state votes last in the presidental primary process. Major party nominees are usually declared before voters in the state get their say. This year promised to be different, with Bernie Sanders barnstorming across the state, bringing a more competitive race than is typical. On the eve of the California primary, though, corporate media outlets called the Democratic race for Hillary Clinton. Still there are a number of statewide and local candidates and issues to be decided on June 7.
Leading fair trade advocacy organization Fair World Project joined over thirty other organizations in signing a letter asking Driscoll’s, the largest distributor of berries in the world, to make good on its commitment to enforcing the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. At Sakuma Brothers Farm, a Washington farm that grows blueberries and blackberries for Driscoll’s, management has refused to negotiate a contract with Familias Unidas por la Justicia.
Wed Jun 1 2016 (Updated 06/02/16)
Bus Riders in Wheelchairs: Don't Leave Us Stranded
A group of bus riders and drivers staged a rally at the Santa Cruz downtown METRO station on May 21 in protest of planned cuts to the county bus system. METRO plans to reduce service across the county and cut more than 40 driver positions. According to documents provided at a METRO public comment meeting on May 3, “METRO needs to reduce its annual operating budget by $6.5 million for the next fiscal year.”
The California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard is one of the largest outdoor annual events in California that celebrates the success of the multi-billion dollar global agricultural industry. However, this success has come at the great economic, social and overall health expense to those who pick the berries. On May 22, a protest outside the Strawberry Festival challenged the industry and governmental efforts to overlook the social and environmental costs of strawberry production, and questioned the logic of charity festivals.
Thu May 26 2016 (Updated 05/27/16)
Salmon is Theme at San Francisco's Anti-GMO Action
Demonstrators spotlighted salmon at this year’s March Against Monsanto. In their protest in San Francisco on May 21, protesters called out Aquabounty for creating a GMO salmon that will be farm-raised, fast growing, and has recently been approved by the FDA despite insufficient safety testing. If these GMO salmon escape, they could forever change the genes of ocean salmon. Salmon are especially important spiritually to the Winnemem Wintu tribe of Shasta County. In Santa Cruz, protesters demonstrated wearing medical masks to bring awareness to the destruction that is caused by Monsanto and GMO's.
On two consecutive Saturdays, May 7 and May 14, farmworkers called for an international day of action to bring attention to the ongoing struggles in the berry fields in Washington State and San Quintin, Mexico. May 7 was initiated by Familias Unidas por la Justicia in Washington state, while Sindicato Independiente Nacional Democratico De Jornaleros Agricolas (SINDJA) farmworkers in San Quintin, Mexico called for a global day of action on May 14. Demonstrations took place in many locations, including Mexico City; Burlington, WA; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; and Eureka, Rohnert Park, Fairfield, San Leandro, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and San Diego, California.
New reports spotlight pesticides used in the food system and the harmful effects they are having on the nation’s children. In particular, the reports find that Latino children living or attending school near California agricultural fields face some of the greatest risks of exposure from pesticides linked to cancers and the developing brain. One report discloses for the first time internal Environmental Protection Agency documents that reveal the EPA’s persistent unwillingness to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.