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The Freedom Sleepers celebrated their one-year anniversary together on July 5 with a march through downtown Santa Cruz, and then an outdoor movie screening at Santa Cruz City Hall. After celebrating their one-year anniversary, the Freedom Sleepers have returned to Santa Cruz City Hall for three more sleepouts. The most recent was their 55th community sleepout on July 26. Since July 4 of 2015, a coalition of unhoused and housed community members in Santa Cruz have converged to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness.
It has become a tradition to celebrate the life of Frank Alvarado with flowers. On July 10, Frank's family was joined by a large group of supporters near the location of his death to mark the second year since his killing by Salinas police. His father, Frank Sr., handed out roses to many of the women gathered, saying the gesture was in memory of "lover boy" as he lightheartedly referred to Frank. His family fondly remembers how dearly Frank loved to give women gifts, and especially the gift of flowers.
A report released on July 8 by the Xerces Society shows a sharp two-decade decline in the number of monarchs which overwinter along the California coast. A comparison of the average number of butterflies overwintering in California during the periods 1997–2001 and 2010–2014 shows a decline of 74 percent, a figure that is comparable to declines documented at monarch overwintering sites in Mexico. Listed sites span the monarch’s overwintering range along the Pacific coast and the East Bay of San Francisco
Tue Jul 12 2016 (Updated 07/18/16)
New Wave of Black Lives Matter Protests Nationwide
The back to back caught-on-video police murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5 and Philando Castile in St. Paul on July 6 kicked off a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country. The people of Baton Rouge and St. Paul have been protesting daily since the killings. Solidarity actions have been held in cities across the country and internationally. Communities have staged rallies, marches, and vigils across Northern California as well. Multiple demonstrations have been held in Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Watsonville.
A member of the Bus Rider's Association writes: The Santa Cruz Bus Rider's Association brought some successful defense work to protect bus riders from the "harsh cuts" that initially threatened us riders and our bus system. These cuts started out looking like they would be a kind of conflagration that would burn down much of our bus system, taking a lot of jobs and bus line with it. We were alarmed, naturally.
Thu Jul 7 2016 (Updated 07/09/16)
Peace and Dignity Journeys 2016: Dedicated to Seeds
Every four years since 1992, Peace and Dignity Journeys runners traverse the Western Hemisphere by foot, carrying stories, songs, and prayers, re-uniting Indigenous communities step by step. Departing simultaneously from Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the journey culminates seven months later with a final ceremony in Panama. On July 6, runners were received by the community of Santa Cruz at the Beach Flats Community Garden.
The Watsonville Brown Berets are keeping the pressure on Driscoll's, the world's largest distributor of fresh berries, who are headquartered in Watsonville, California. On July 2, the Saturday before July 4th BBQs, the Brown Berets and other community members demonstrated in front of the Safeway on Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville to raise awareness and show solidarity with farmworkers in Washington state and Baja California leading the worldwide boycott of Driscoll's berries, including all products made with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries sold by Driscoll's.
Take Back Santa Cruz, "a non-profit community organization focused on creating awareness and working together to build a better, safer and cleaner Santa Cruz," tried to go silent about one of their most high-profile members facing felony charges for firearms and drug manufacturing. Sixty-year-old James Burtnett of Boulder Creek faces multiple felony counts ranging from illegally synthesizing a Schedule 1 narcotic, to being illegally armed with a firearm. According to court documents, Burtnett was involved in a narcotic processing operation. The illegal lab exploded on September 29, 2013, in Santa Cruz.
Wed Jun 15 2016 (Updated 06/16/16)
Love and Solidarity from Watsonville to Orlando
SOMOS LGBT, a community organization raising awareness on equality and acceptance for all, began in Watsonville nine years ago. On the evening of June 13, SOMOS LGBT held a vigil at Watsonville Plaza to "remember one of the most horrific tragedies committed against the LGBT community." The day before, a mass shooting occurred at a gay nightclub in Orlando, resulting in 53 wounded and 50 dead, including the gunman. SOMOS LGBT will hold a vigil in the Plaza every day until Sunday from 6:30 to 7:30.
On May 31, students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA voted overwhelmingly to endorse resolutions expressing support for freedom and equality for Palestinians and labor justice for migrant workers at Sakuma Bros farm in northern Washington. The three resolutions asked students to condemn the presence of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus, to de-shelve Sabra hummus, and prohibit the use of Sakuma Bros berries from campus dining services.
Why won't the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) support the Driscoll's Boycott? That's one of the questions UFW Vice President Lauro Barajas would not answer after he spoke at Hillary Clinton's rally in Salinas on May 25. The UFW will not reveal when their friendship with Driscoll's began. However, a photograph from May 2013 reveals their relationship with Reiter Affiliated Companies, an Oxnard-based subsidiary of Driscoll's.
Mon Jun 6 2016 (Updated 06/08/16)
California Almost Mattered This Time, Sort Of
California is the most populous state in the nation, yet the state votes last in the presidental primary process. Major party nominees are usually declared before voters in the state get their say. This year promised to be different, with Bernie Sanders barnstorming across the state, bringing a more competitive race than is typical. On the eve of the California primary, though, corporate media outlets called the Democratic race for Hillary Clinton. Still there are a number of statewide and local candidates and issues to be decided on June 7.
Leading fair trade advocacy organization Fair World Project joined over thirty other organizations in signing a letter asking Driscoll’s, the largest distributor of berries in the world, to make good on its commitment to enforcing the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. At Sakuma Brothers Farm, a Washington farm that grows blueberries and blackberries for Driscoll’s, management has refused to negotiate a contract with Familias Unidas por la Justicia.
Wed Jun 1 2016 (Updated 06/02/16)
Bus Riders in Wheelchairs: Don't Leave Us Stranded
A group of bus riders and drivers staged a rally at the Santa Cruz downtown METRO station on May 21 in protest of planned cuts to the county bus system. METRO plans to reduce service across the county and cut more than 40 driver positions. According to documents provided at a METRO public comment meeting on May 3, “METRO needs to reduce its annual operating budget by $6.5 million for the next fiscal year.”
iCal feed From the Calendar:
2:30PM Saturday Aug 6 SF Mime Troupe "Schooled"
2:30PM Sunday Aug 7 SF Mime Troupe "Schooled"
3PM Saturday Sep 17 East-to-West Scavenger Race
Santa Cruz Sentinel Reporter Leaves Questionable Voicemail Tannery Concerned (2 comments) Friday Jul 29th 4:09 PM
Legal Action Launched to Protect Western Snowy Plovers From Sand City Beach Resort Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday Jul 27th 5:23 PM
Living Near Agricultural Pesticides During Pregnancy Linked to Lower IQ for Salinas Valley Kids via Californians for Pesticide Reform Wednesday Jul 27th 4:59 PM
Freedom SleepOut #55 To Follow Pacific Avenue Protests Keith McHenry (posted by Norse) (1 comment) Monday Jul 25th 11:39 PM
Tuesday is Still the Night to Sleep at Santa Cruz City Hall Alex Darocy (1 comment) Monday Jul 25th 6:43 PM
Environmental racism in the “leftmost city” Santa Cruz Ecological Justice Sunday Jul 24th 10:21 AM
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Reigning Debbie Was. Schultz Resigns Elise Casby Monday Jul 25th 2:24 PM
EPA Approved Pesticide Products Without Accounting for Dangers of Chemical Mixture Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday Jul 20th 2:46 PM
TESC Students for Justice in Palestine Respond to Evergreen Administration TESC Students for Justice in Palestine Thursday Jul 14th 1:19 PM
Obama Administration Permitted 1,200 Offshore Fracks in Gulf of Mexico Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday Jun 28th 5:20 PM
Pipeline Company in Southern California Oil Spill Has Long History of Leaks Center for Biological Diversity Friday Jun 24th 5:04 PM
Unprecedented Offshore Fracking Threatens Alaska's Endangered Belugas Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday Jun 22nd 11:40 AM
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Renowned Marine Biologist Asha de Vos Joins Oceana Oceana Thursday Jul 28th 1:46 AM
Hillary Clinton - war bird mile mills (1 comment) Tuesday Jul 26th 5:13 AM
The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost in Dallas Texas Steven Argue (3 comments) Monday Jul 11th 4:12 PM
CNN Claims on Chinese Organ Harvesting Are Not Credible Steven Argue (9 comments) Saturday Jul 2nd 9:55 AM
Free Alla Aleksandrovska! Steven Argue Wednesday Jun 29th 6:25 PM
The Working Class Will Benefit from The Brexit Steven Argue Thursday Jun 23rd 10:35 AM
Justin Vineyards criticized for clear-cutting oaks Skye Ravy, Paso Robles Daily News (2 comments) Saturday Jun 11th 4:06 PM
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