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Health, Housing, & Public Services News

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On July 20, homeless activist Dez Martinez set up a tent on the lawn in front of Fresno City Hall and invited other activists to come through. She then put out a general call for more people to come by and set up tents on July 23. On the second day only a couple of tents went up, but around fifty supporters came. They demanded better alternatives to being on the streets. One of the activists at City Hall was Gordie Ochinero-Bermudez, who recently did a 450-mile bike ride to raise money for porta-potties for Fresno’s homeless population.
Unhoused residents and liveaboard mariners of the Bay Area and the state of California converged on Caltrans headquarters on June 22 to demand District 4 director Dina El-Tawansy cease and desist from displacing people living on Caltrans land, as well as people living anchored out on Richardson Bay in Marin. Speakers and musicians elevated the voices of the unhoused at the press conference. A reenactment depicted evictions happening to thousands of unhoused and anchor-out folks throughout California.
Tue Jul 27 2021 (Updated 07/31/21)
Resistance at Sausalito Camp Eviction
On June 29, the city of Sausalito cracked down with force on an encampment near Dunphy Park. Occupants joined by housing activists formed a line of resistance and shouted their demand to see a warrant. It was a tense stand-off that followed months of contention and a legal battle. Resistors fought bravely but were told their new home would have to be an area that is muddy and close to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ debris yard, where boats are taken from the water for destruction.
Fri Apr 30 2021 (Updated 05/06/21)
May Day Marches Return to the Bay Area
Actions marking May Day across Northern California demanded worker rights, housing for all, and racial justice, expressing solidarity with the Chilean general strike. Marches and rallies were held in San Francisco, Oakland, San José, Fresno, Mountain View, and other cities. In Oakland, a vacant house was reclaimed and a nighttime march called for abolishing the police. In Alameda, protesters rallied outside the homes of those who called police on Mario Gonzalez.
Wed Mar 24 2021 (Updated 03/31/21)
After Health Scare, Call Remains to Free Abu-Jamal
As Mumia Abu-Jamal has aged behind bars, inadequate medical care has led to several scares when his health deteriorated rapidly. In February, Mumia believed he was infected with COVID-19 and suffering skin lesions. After public pressure, authorities transferred Mumia to a hospital for emergency treatment. He was diagnosed with coronavirus. While Mumia's health remains a concern, he is stable now and has been returned to general population. Reopened legal appeals are currently being litigated.
There were at least 527 evictions in the Bay Area from the start of the statewide coronavirus lockdown on March 19 through the end of December. On January 27, over 100 tenants and advocates blocked eviction hearings at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, protesting the displacement of renters during the coronavirus pandemic. Protesters blocking the courthouse entrance shut down the court before being violently removed by Sheriff’s Deputies. Nine protesters were arrested on the charge of disrupting court operations.
On January 24, Voices of VV held a mutual aid event in Vacaville. Afterward, one person was pulled over by team of police officers. Nine people arrived soon after to record and cop watch. More police arrived in riot gear and heavily armed with wooden batons in hand and others with guns. The officers declared six observers standing and recording to be an “unlawful assembly.” The founder of Voices of VV, a Black woman, was specifically targeted for arrest. Vacaville Police confiscated phones and has yet to return them.
Wed Jan 27 2021 (Updated 01/31/21)
People's Park in Berkeley Faces Greatest Danger Yet
For 50 years, UC administrators have schemed to take People's Park from those who turned a dirt lot into a public sanctuary. Now, UC Berkeley is on the verge of permanently destroying the park. It installed fencing around the park on January 19. On January 27, police and public works crews evicted several unhoused residents. But people are resisting the coming construction of a 16-story housing complex. At a rally to save the park on January 29, protesters tore down fencing and carried it to Sproul Hall on UCB campus.
After nearly a year of struggle, Moms for Housing announced on October 9 that their house on Magnolia Street in West Oakland had been purchased. Moms4Housing co-founder Dominique Walker declared, "This is officially Moms' House." In November, Dominique Walker and her allies running as the "Right to Housing" slate were elected to the Berkeley rent board. ACCE Director and Moms4Housing co-founder Carroll Fife claimed victory as Oakland's D3 councilmember-elect.
Erica Aitken of Reimagine Santa Cruz writes: The next City Council elections will decide the future of Santa Cruz. Do we open our doors to Silicon Valley with luxury rentals and our very own Santana Row? Or do we take control and build beautiful affordable housing for those who work and would like to live here? If we ask ourselves this question, it is because we have recently been the victims of a particularly galling breach of trust from our current City Councilmembers.
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