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Thu May 14 2020 (Updated 05/16/20)
San Quentin Gets Car Caravan Protest
After assembling in the Larkspur Landing Ferry parking lot, a caravan of activist drove to nearby San Quentin prison to protest what they viewed as "Execution by Covid-19." The prison, with its concentration of people, represents to those incarcerated during the current pandemic nothing less than a potential death sentence. Protesters also demanded the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal. While some cars circled the prison, others held a rally, observing social distancing, at the Prison's West gate.
California has neglected its catastrophic housing affordability and homelessness crisis for years. Meanwhile, civic leaders prioritize large scale hotel developments, offering billions in incentives to developers. With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms sit empty while the government continues to deny thousands of unhoused Californians the right to shelter in place. In Los Angeles, there are now almost 100,000 vacant hotel rooms. In Oakland, at least 1,500 hotel rooms are sitting empty.
On April 9, McDonald’s employees demonstrated by driving their cars in a manner to disrupt the fast food company’s business at three San Francisco Bay Area locations. They are demanding that the fast food chain give workers masks, gloves and a $3 an hour pay increase. Employees say that while the company is calling their jobs essential during the pandemic, it does not recognize that their lives are also essential.
Sun Mar 29 2020 (Updated 04/04/20)
Bay Area Rent Strike
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Tenant and Neighborhood Councils, and other Bay Area folks are producing and sharing information on how to organize a rent strike. They write: We can work together to prevent eviction and foreclosure. We can keep each other housed and fed. We must demand an immediate suspension of rent and mortgage payments for everyone. And if this demand is not met, we must refuse to pay our rents and our mortgages, together.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the nation, activists are demonstrating urgently against the continuing detention of immigrants by ICE. The agency's detention centers are hotbeds for the spread of deadly disease to prisoners and personnel, potentially killing thousands. On March 31, protestors in California did their best to follow shelter-in-place rules by protesting in caravans, and covering their cars with banners and messages for Governor Gavin Newsom.
anonymous writes: As coronavirus spreads and the death toll begins to climb, our most immediate concern is (and should remain) staying healthy and supporting our communities through the immediate crisis. As radicals, however, we must also begin to strategize how we will respond to the economic collapse that will continue to affect our lives long after a vaccine or herd immunity render the virus itself a past issue. Looking back to our local history, we can learn a great deal from Great Depression era worker self-organizing and mutual aid.
Demanding action for homeless families at higher risk from coronavirus, homeless and housing insecure families successfully moved into six vacant, state-owned properties in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles on March 14, with scores of community supporters coming out in support. In the next few days, similar families reclaimed more houses, with thirteen providing shelter now. CalTrans owns the houses, and activists estimate that nearly 200 sit vacant.
Sat Mar 21 2020 (Updated 03/26/20)
California on Coronavirus Lockdown
California residents have been ordered to "stay at home" to suppress the spread of COVID-19. Stringent mitigation measures mean millions are without an income. Students face the possibility of going hungry. Curbside communities and incarcerated persons are especially at risk for contracting the virus. The stress and isolation of the pandemic take a toll on mental health. Not waiting for government action, people are stepping up with mutual aid efforts to assist those most in need.
Thu Mar 12 2020 (Updated 03/22/20)
COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Most Vulnerable Populations
The World Health Organization officially named COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. As of that date, over 128,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide and 4,717 people have died (updated statistics). Among the most vulnerable are the elderly, the immunocompromised, the prison population, people who are experiencing homelessness, and hospital workers who have a high likelihood of exposure to the contagious virus as they care for the public health.
Fri Mar 6 2020 (Updated 03/07/20)
Massive Turnout at UC Berkeley Day of Action
On March 5, UC Berkeley graduate student workers, undergraduate students and faculty joined together for a full day of work stoppage. The strike was organized by CAL COLA, an autonomous group of graduate workers and undergraduate students that began to organize in December 2019 in solidarity with the striking graduate workers at UC Santa Cruz. The Day of Action was part of the UC-wide Blackout Day in solidarity with Santa Cruz strikers who were fired last week, and organized independently of UAW Local 2865. CAL COLA states, "If teaching is truly at the core of the UC's mission, it is high time that they start paying graduate students - who do the vast majority of teaching within the UC system - a living wage."
Thu Mar 5 2020 (Updated 03/06/20)
UC Santa Cruz Shutdown in UC-Wide Blackout
On March 5, graduate student workers at UC Santa Cruz and their undergraduate allies participated in a UC system wide day of action in solidarity with their fellow workers whom university administration fired. Large demonstrations took place simultaneously at other UC campuses, including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and UC Riverside. At UCSC, classes were cancelled as students shut down both entrances to campus starting at 5:30am. At UC San Diego, graduate students decided to initiate a grading strike on March 9. Striking graduate students explain, "The strike began because there was a crisis that demanded to be acknowledged, that had been swept under the rug for too long."
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