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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Arts + Action | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Police State and Prisons
Occupy Santa Cruz Chalks in Solidarity with OccupyLA
On August 8, several community members involved with Occupy Santa Cruz wrote messages in brightly colored chalk on the sidewalk in front of the Santa Cruz court house steps on Water Street during its midweek general assembly in response to the Occupy Los Angeles call for a Global Day of Action to "Chalkupy the World", which was prompted by the continued repression of the Occupy movement. Messages such as "Look up Plutocracy" and "Warning, No Trespass after 7pm" were added to the large area known alternately by local occupiers as the "Occudome Plaza" and "People's Plaza", where a large number of chalk messages were already written during a vigil the night before honoring attorney and sleep activist, Ed Frey, who was recently sentenced to jail for his part in a 2010 sleep protest at the Santa Cruz court house.
Individuals with Occupy Santa Cruz had originally intended to write chalk messages in front of banks such as Chase and Wells Fargo, but they wound up deciding to instead chalk together in a small group at the court house steps as the 6pm general assembly was taking place with 10-20 people in attendance. The area was continuously occupied for two months in 2011 by OSC when the "Occudome" was built (in addition to the main camp occupation in the adjacent San Lorenzo Park Benchlands), but in 2012 the area has been subject to a strict, newly enacted 7pm curfew that is enforced by both security guards and local police agencies.
At the end of the general assembly, two security guards arrived like clockwork at 7pm that evening and told the small group of people to leave or they would be trespassing. As they left, the guards noted the presence of the new chalk messages and said, "We'll make a report about the graffiti later."
Even though Occupy Santa Cruz no longer has an active 24/7 occupation, the group has struggled to continue holding general assemblies and other events at the court house location where roots were planted last October. The irony of the new 7pm curfew at the location is that the adjacent park is still full of people actively enjoying the area until sunset during the summertime evenings.
On July 12, OccupyLA participants were subject to a massive riot-police presence when activists handed out chalk to participants in a community art event, according to the OccupyLA website, to share stories of, "unlawful arrests and police repression." The event was portrayed in a negative light in the media, when in fact the police were responsible for the widely reported aggression.
At the end of July, Occupy Los Angeles called for global support for a chalk event to be held on August 9, stating, "dissent is as simple as writing your grievances on the sidewalk, as accessible as hopscotch in the streets- reclaiming public space and engaging in public dialog and expression. Join us (if you're close enough) for a day of solidarity and fun to celebrate the human spirit and chalk for our collective liberation. Together we will remake the art of public life in our alley ways, on the doorsteps of banks whose only allegiance is to profit, and in the streets built by our labor. In solidarity, regardless of all nations and borders, we will engage in willful public expression against political repression."
To learn more about OccupyLA and "Chalkupy the World", see:
To learn more about Occupy Santa Cruz, see:
The security guards appeared to be waiting for every last person to leave the area, but when their picture was taken, they left,