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The Sisters for Perpetual Indulgence rallied in front of Facebook's headquarters on June 1 to demand that the social media company remove the fake-name reporting option and stop asking users for government IDs. They stood with representatives of the African-American and Native American communities to say that it's not fair that anybody can claim someone is using a fake name and report that person to Facebook for scrutiny.
Victims of domestic violence also called for a change to Facebook's policy requiring that members use only birth names. They said that using their real name exposes them to their abusers.
People should be able to remain anonymous, the protesters said. Many Native Americans have two-word last names that were sometimes handed down in tribal ceremonies. White separatists have been able to disable Native American Facebook accounts by reporting tribal names as "fake" to Facebook. Sam White Swan-Perkins quoted Native legal activist Chase Iron Eyes as having said, "we are just the messengers, our warriors haven’t even shown up, and that’s when Facebook is going to pay attention."
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On the grassy lawn in front of Hewlett Packard headquarters, demonstrators held a "virtual" meeting dubbed "The People's Shareholders Meeting" on March 18. Board members in silk-screened HP insignia ties joined a Meg Whitman character in blonde wig. CEO Whitman fielded questions about the company's complicity in Israel's oppression of Palestine from a group on lawn chairs portraying shareholders. Testifiers, including two Israeli citizens, spoke to the shareholders from a mock podium.
Following Hewlett-Packard’s February 4 announcement that it would replace its in-person annual shareholder meeting with an online meeting, a coalition of organizations for Palestinian rights decided to take their protest directly to HP in Palo Alto, California. Last year shareholders who objected to Hewlett Packard's aid to Israel spoke at the annual meeting held at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
HP facilitates both the illegal Israeli occupation and apartheid in Palestine/Israel. Its technology and equipment aid oppression through the development of its biometric system used for population and territorial control. HP's Basel system is installed at the Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank... checkpoints that deprive Palestinians of freedom of movement in violation of international law.
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Previous Coverage: Protest Inside and Outside Hewlett-Packard Shareholders' Meeting
Members of Youth Alliance for Justice rallied in front of Mountain View City Hall on January 28th with the faces of victims on placards, asking that they not be forgotten. All the images were of people who were killed, seriously injured, or "disappeared" due to racism or human rights violations.
Student speakers asked, "Why should the US government be above the law?" They said the US government should join 122 other countries and belong to the UN's International Criminal Court. In addition they called for an end to police violence against people of color.
Akubundu Lott, an organizer for the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, addressed the crowd. He said the US displays its imperialist role when it sends aid in the form of troops to countries requesting humanitarian aid. In addition, Lott said, the US has helped Israel set up an apartheid state in the Middle East.
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In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings organized in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The first action announced was a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminated in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19. Other groups organized more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California.
On December 22, with the full support of marine conservation organizations, a group of California legislators called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets. “California drift gillnets are deadly curtains of death for marine wildlife like whales and sea turtles,” said Doug Karpa of Turtle Island Restoration Network.
UPDATE 11/14: New CA Ebola Mandate Inspired by NNU Appeal to Gov. Brown, Sets National Model
On November 11, two-day strikes started that effect nearly 20,000 registered nurses at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, a Sutter hospital in Tracy, and Watsonville Community Hospital kicking off a wave of protests in 15 states and the District of Columbia over eroding patient care conditions symbolized by inadequate Ebola safeguards at most U.S. hospitals. Large noon rallies were held at Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser South Sacramento.
Conservation groups notified the National Marine Fisheries Service of their intent to sue the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the pinto abalone, an approximately six-inch snail with an iridescent inner shell that was once common in rocky, intertidal coasts from Alaska to Baja California.
At a rally in Palo Alto on October 5th, speakers Mary Kay Raftery and Chris Walker said that there is no such thing as the "closure" that death penalty advocates promote. Mary Kay's son was murdered; Chris spoke of his experience as an innocent man in Pelican Bay prison. Long time Amnesty International member Terry McCaffrey said it is clear that support for the death penalty is in decline, but "we must not let up on our struggle to put an end to capital punishment."
Wrongful conviction is one of the most troubling aspects of the criminal justice system and when execution is an option, there will always be a risk that the state may kill an innocent person. Former East Palo Alto resident Rick Walker was found guilty of murder by a jury even though Santa Clara County prosecutors had no physical evidence tying him to the crime. He told how he spent 12 1/2 years in prison for a criminal act he did not commit.
Also speaking was Fr. River Sims of the Society of Franciscan Workers. He helps street kids in San Francisco; he is a lone protester standing against the death penalty every week at the the Earl Warren Building located at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco. The Earl Warren Building is the headquarters of the Supreme Court of California. He invited others to join him and stand strong against the death penalty.
On September 24, the Surfrider Foundation
, scored a huge victory in its protracted legal battle against billionaire and venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla, to restore beach access at Martin’s Beach in San Mateo County, California. In 2010, Khosla had locked gates that provided the only public access to the beach. In a decision made by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Mallach, Khosla will be required to seek a permit from the California Coastal Commission for the gates, signage and other access-blocking development at Martin’s Beach and begin a public process to consider the changes to the property and beach access.
“Today’s court decision upholding the Coastal Act is an important victory for Martin’s Beach and ultimately strengthens the public's right to beach access in California,” says Angela Howe, Esq., Legal Director for the Surfrider Foundation. “The Surfrider Foundation remains vigilant to protect beach access rights, not only in this case, but also in other cases where the beach is wrongfully cut off from the public.”
Although Khosla is believed to have intentions to appeal the decision, Joe Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, whose firm represents the victorious Surfrider Foundation says, “Today’s decision is a huge victory for all of the people of California. It affirms that great wealth cannot be used to circumvent and ignore the law. Everyone can again visit Martin’s Beach.”
On September 30, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 968, a bill authored by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), which outlines a timeline and process for the State Lands Commission to acquire public access to Martin's Beach.
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Surfrider Martin's Beach campaign