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Sat Jun 27 2020 (Updated 06/29/20)
Juneteenth Becomes Nationwide Event
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when the Union army pronounced in Texas that all enslaved peoples in the United States were finally free. Among the many Bay Area protests this year was a thousand-strong march in San Francisco. In Oakland, the ILWU shut down the port before thousands marched through downtown. Santa Cruz marched in large numbers as well. In Palo Alto and Fresno, protesters painted "BLM" and "Black Lives Matter" in huge letters in the street.
Demonstrations continue around the Bay Area in the name of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, with tens of thousands taking to the streets. Protests in every corner of the Bay Area have been met with police force. Demonstrators say they won’t be stopping despite the risks posed by police attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the full feature with coverage from across Northern California.
Demonstrations continue around the Bay Area in the name of George Floyd, with tens of thousands taking to the streets. At protests in the East and South Bay, they have been met almost immediately by police force. Demonstrators say they won’t be stopping despite the risks posed by police attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic because racism, which has long posed a dire health threat, must be countered.
Community members in Santa Cruz organized a "physical distancing" protest on April 20 to demand the City and County of Santa Cruz provide hotel vouchers for the homeless during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Homeless people and their supporters organized the demonstration following California Governor Gavin Newsom's press conference statement on April 18 that cities and municipalities that are blocking the State's effort to provide hotels for the homeless will be "judged" by history.
Hubster writes: The Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Living is a constellation of community-based projects that has been building and celebrating community and offering crucial resources since 1994. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, many of the Hub’s projects are currently or will soon be struggling to pay the bills, particularly those projects which rely upon small cash donations from public-engaging programs. We are fundraising to account for rent / expenses at this unpredictable time.
On April 11, a campesino appreciation caravan took place in Watsonville to recognize and thank all the farmworkers. Participants wrote, "I'm sure many of you have noticed the lack of acknowledgement of farmworkers, field workers, campesinos, our people, in the media. Specifically recognizing the work they do as essential to our society. Because of this, we mobilized to create a caravan of recognition and thankfulness."
Sun Mar 29 2020 (Updated 04/04/20)
Bay Area Rent Strike
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Tenant and Neighborhood Councils, and other Bay Area folks are producing and sharing information on how to organize a rent strike. They write: We can work together to prevent eviction and foreclosure. We can keep each other housed and fed. We must demand an immediate suspension of rent and mortgage payments for everyone. And if this demand is not met, we must refuse to pay our rents and our mortgages, together.
Sat Mar 21 2020 (Updated 03/26/20)
California on Coronavirus Lockdown
California residents have been ordered to "stay at home" to suppress the spread of COVID-19. Stringent mitigation measures mean millions are without an income. Students face the possibility of going hungry. Curbside communities and incarcerated persons are especially at risk for contracting the virus. The stress and isolation of the pandemic take a toll on mental health. Not waiting for government action, people are stepping up with mutual aid efforts to assist those most in need.
On March 20, Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills and a dozen or more cops and park rangers evicted an encampment of unhoused people along Water Street near the post office. Mills gave people the choice of moving into fenced areas in the city or facing arrest and property confiscation. Robert Norse states, "This 'out of sight / out of town' policy, while claiming a public health rationale, rings false given the lack of protected indoor shelter being offered."
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.
Santa Cruz City Councilmember Drew Glover faces attack after attack by City Staff and other City Councilmembers. Several members of the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women (CPVAW) have continued their attacks on Glover by filing a complaint on behalf of former CPVAW Commissioner Kevin Grossman, regarding a Facebook post by Glover. Also, Councilmembers Donna Meyers and Martine Watkins are continuing to seek Drew's censure, even after a video has circulated clearly showing Councilmember Meyers screaming at Councilmember Glover and pounding her fist loudly on the council dais.
John Malkin speaks with Mark Hosler, founding member of Negativland, the art, music, film, activist, culture jamming collective established in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970's. Mixing original materials and original music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture and the world around them, Negativland surreally re-arrange these found bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In 2004 Negativland worked with Creative Commons to write the Creative Commons Sampling License, an alternative to existing copyrights that is now widely used by many artists, writers, musicians, film makers, and websites.
Thu Mar 5 2020 (Updated 03/06/20)
UC Santa Cruz Shutdown in UC-Wide Blackout
On March 5, graduate student workers at UC Santa Cruz and their undergraduate allies participated in a UC system wide day of action in solidarity with their fellow workers whom university administration fired. Large demonstrations took place simultaneously at other UC campuses, including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and UC Riverside. At UCSC, classes were cancelled as students shut down both entrances to campus starting at 5:30am. At UC San Diego, graduate students decided to initiate a grading strike on March 9. Striking graduate students explain, "The strike began because there was a crisis that demanded to be acknowledged, that had been swept under the rug for too long."
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