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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.
On January 4, thousands of people rallied and marched in Northern California, proclaiming "US Out Of Iraq" and "No War With Iran." Various groups, including ANSWER Coalition and Code Pink, called for a rally and march in San Francisco before the U.S. assassinated Iranian general Qassem Suleimani near the Baghdad airport on January 3. That extrajudicial killing swelled the turnout in San Francisco while anti-war activists quickly announced similar actions at other Northern California locations then and throughout the month. A Global Day of Protest occurred on Saturday, January 25.
Two decades is a long time and a lot has happened in the movement for global justice since the first Independent Media Center was established in preparation for the World Trade Organization protests that began in Seattle on November 30, 1999. The global IMC network exploded on the scene in cities around the world within a few years of N30. It didn't come easy, though. Volunteers have been arrested, jailed, maimed, and even killed by state forces. While the network has contracted in the intervening years, Independent Media Centers continue to make major contributions supporting worldwide struggles for justice.
Thu Nov 21 2019 (Updated 11/22/19)
Solidarity with Chile's Rebellion in San Francisco
Chilean high school students began to protest a fare hike on the subway system of Santiago by jumping turnstiles en masse on October 6. Protests against economic inequality quickly spread across Chile and escalated to huge public demonstrations and work strikes. In response, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera directed police and military to use violence against protesters. Thousands have been arrested and injured, including hundreds who have lost sight because the Chilean military is targeting protesters' eyes. Actions in solidarity with the people of Chile have been held around the world, including several in San Francisco.
Sat Nov 16 2019
Vigil for Kashmir in Fresno
Around forty people, mostly Muslim, met at Nees and Blackstone after sunset for a vigil for Kashmir on October 27. The vigil was organized by Saadat Farooqi. To the best of his knowledge, Farooqi and his family of six are the only people from Kashmir in Fresno. Farooqi explained that India made an incursion into Muslim-majority Kashmir on August 5. There are now 800,000 Indian soldiers in Kashmir guarding 8 million people. Kashmir is under curfew, he said, and there are many arrests, especially of young people, who are being tortured by Indian forces.
Businesses are closed and rail service suspended, as China's Special Administrative Region Hong Kong is in chaos this weekend. A ban on wearing masks, set to take effect October 4, apparently backfired as street violence increased; at least one train was set on fire. The Hong Kong protests have now spread to several large cities in the United States, with hundreds gathering in San Francisco ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Critics say that despite claims in the press about the protesters being advocates of democracy and freedom, demonstrators carrying U.S. flags are asking the ironically tyrannical President Trump to come to their aid.
Thu Sep 5 2019 (Updated 09/30/19)
Global Climate Strike Week of Action
Climate Strikes began on September 20, three days out from the United Nation's climate emergency summit in New York, and continued to September 27. As young climate strikers have shown, there is huge power in sustained action week after week to match the scale of the climate emergency. Millions walked out from home, work, school or university to declare a climate emergency and to show politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means.
Thu Aug 29 2019 (Updated 09/01/19)
Protesters Demand End to U.S. Involvement in Yemeni War
As separatists and government-backed forces battle for control of the Yemeni capital, innocent civilians continue to suffer. On August 16, Yemeni-Americans and allies gathered in front of San Francisco's Federal Building where they called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead the House in progressive foreign policies as regards the war in Yemen. They want the House-Senate conference on the National Defense Authorization Act to include the Smith-Khanna amendment to end all U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen and the Malinowski amendment to stop bomb sales to Saudi Arabia.
On June 17, at demonstrations that drew up to two million people, protesters in Hong Kong continued demands that the government withdraw an extradition bill they fear would allow people to be sent to the mainland for actions disapproved of by Beijing. Protesters insisted that police be held accountable for brutal tactics at demonstrations held earlier in June as well. In the Bay Area cities of Palo Alto and San Francisco, hundreds demonstrated in solidarity with activists in Hong Kong.
Margot Goldstein and Rachel Lederman write: Our community institutions should create venues for genuine discussions about how to confront oppression. Manny’s does not accomplish the goal of “civic discourse” on social justice because it contributes to racist gentrification and supports the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The boycott of Manny’s is the community standing up to Yekutiel’s opportunistic attempt to exploit social justice for profit while perpetuating and supporting the destructive politics of gentrification and Zionism.
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