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Benefit Dinner to Support Local RNC Arrestee

Sunday, March 01, 2009
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
SubRosa: A Community Space
703 N. Pacific Ave

Benefit Dinner to Support Local RNC Arrestee

Are people who protest the Republican National Convention (RNC) terrorists? That is what hundreds of peaceful activists, including eight community organizers, are being accused of in the wake of the 2008 Republican National convention. One of the 818 people arrested during the protests is Santa Cruz resident, local activist and musician Jesse Forrey. On Sunday, March 1, at 6pm, an exclusive benefit dinner in Santa Cruz will raise money for Forrey's defense.

Acclaimed Sacramento Chef Joshua Ploeg, aka the Traveling Vegan Chef, will be cooking an elegant five-course gourmet dinner using fresh Santa Cruz produce donated by local organic farms. The dinner will begin at 6pm on Sunday, March 1, at SubRosa: A Community Space. The meal will feature such dishes as Chantrelle Mushroom Croquettes, Beet Salad with Lemon-Pomegranate Dressing, Root Noodle Lasagna with a variety of sauces and Fruit Parfait with Cocoa Cream, Chocolate-Liqueur Sauce, Cinnamon Sugar and a Chocolate Cookie Crust.

Forrey was an active part of the Santa Cruz community before his arrest. A UCSC alumnni, he provided child care, worked in local grocery stores, played music in local bands and taught classes through Free Skool Santa Cruz. He was one of over 300 people arrested on the first day of the RNC protests during massive police roundups designed to discourage free speech and political dissent. Unable to afford bail, Forrey was conditionally released and has been forced to remain in Minnesota, separated from his family and friends, while awaiting trial. Dedicated to social justice, he volunteers at the Second Foundation School and continues community organizing by working with the Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure, a group whose goal is "to ensure that all interested arrestees have the support necessary to fight their charges and stand up for free speech." Forrey is trying to raise at least $7,000 for a private attorney. He is currently on "Trial Call," a system where he does not know when his trial will be but could receive a call at anytime telling him to be in court within 2 hours.

In total, 818 people were arrested during the RNC. Over 100 people were charged with felonies on the first day of protest, including Forrey who is being falsely accused of "aiding and abetting damage to property." Ninety-percent of the cases have not yet been formally charged, and judges continue to throw out cases due to lack of evidence. At this point, no RNC arrestee who has been able to hire a lawyer and fight their charges has been convicted. "The vast majority of arrests in St. Paul were unjustifiable and more focused on a government repression of dissent than providing security for the RNC," says Kate Bonner-Jackson, a RNC activist whose case was thrown out for lack of sufficient evidence. The prosecutor's office is still pursuing charges wherever they can in an attempt to justify the exorbitant amount of money spent on the protection of war-profiteers, power elite and neoconservative bureaucrats.

Besides the $50 million of taxpayer money spent on tazers, tear gas, pepper spray, and extra officers to squash protest at the convention, the Republican Party purchased insurance in order to pay for the first $10 million in lawsuit damages as a result of police misconduct during the convention. In effect, this insurance gave police and national guard a free hand to conduct widespread arrests of medics, journalists (including Amy Goodman and other Democracy Now! producers), peaceful protestors and innocent bystanders. In the words of Executive Director of the ACLU Anthony D. Romero, speaking about the heavy-handed police tactics at the RNC, "Conducting mass arrests and raiding meeting places of innocent Americans exercising their constitutional right to express political dissent are antithetical to the fundamental values of our democracy."

Forrey's benefit gourmet dinner will be held March 1, beginning at 6pm, at SubRosa: A Community Space. This $50 to $200-a-plate dinner will be vegan and vegetarian friendly. All of the money will go to Forrey's legal defense fund. Those interested in attending can reserve their seat by clicking here to donate via PayPal. Please include how many people in your party will be attending with payment. Please RSVP by Saturday, February 28 to redhill [at]

Please consider donating even if you are unable to attend the dinner. Pay via PayPal to redhill [at] or send a check to Red Hill Legal Support c/o SubRosa, 703 N. Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95061.
Added to the calendar on Tue, Feb 24, 2009 6:25PM
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