May Day 2017 March in Santa Cruz

A family that lives in the Beach Flats led the march with a child’s sign proclaiming, “Fuera Trump! Viva La Raza! Viva Los Trabajadores!”

On May 1, 2017, May Day demonstrators marched from the Post Office in downtown Santa Cruz to the Beach Flats neighborhood. The march visited the Beach Flats Community Garden before continuing on to Beach Flats Park.

Watsonville Brown Berets carried a colorful banner stating, “Santa Cruz Stands in Solidarity with International Workers.” More beautiful people carried awesome banners, handsewn at The Fábrica, declaring, “All Are Welcome”, “Capitalism Is Killing Us”, and “The Future”.

A family that lives in the Beach Flats led the march with a child’s sign proclaiming, “Fuera Trump! Viva La Raza! Viva Los Trabajadores!” They used a megaphone to keep demonstrators energized while calling for justice, including migrant rights. Meanwhile, Brown Berets from Salinas and Watsonville helped maintain the good vibes with a megaphone at the back of the march.

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Hundreds Rally in Santa Cruz to Support Planned Parenthood

Demonstration outside Planned Parenthood Santa Cruz in support of fundamental rights to affordable healthcare and non-judgmental family planning.

[ Protect Your Sisters, Not Just Your Cis-Ters. We Love Planned Parenthood. ]

On February 11, over 800 people rallied at the intersection of Soquel and Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, and across the country, in response to nationwide “Defund Planned Parenthood” rallies. Animated speakers shared personal stories of receiving vital healthcare services from Planned Parenthood, often unaccessible anywhere else.

Demonstrators lined Pacific holding colorful homemade signs in support of fundamental rights to affordable healthcare and non-judgmental family planning, while also illustrating many of the horrendous atrocities which result from defunding Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, a dozen people congregated on Cedar Street, a block away from Pacific Avenue, in protest of Planned Parenthood. Organizers of the counter-protest requested for people to join them on Pacific Avenue and not engage with the Planned Parenthood protestors. However a group roughly the same size as the protestors said they were not engaging, but were determined to hold their ground and maintain a close presence. They said the rally on Pacific Avenue was too festive, and they did not show up for a celebration.

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Huge Turnout for Women’s March Santa Cruz County

Tens of thousands overfilled the streets of Santa Cruz for the historic Women’s March Santa Cruz County, held in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington.

[ Vera and Liz in Watsonville Plaza on January 21, 2017. La Mujer Es La Fuerza. Solidarity with Standing Rock. Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Defend the Land. Protect the Water. ]

Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life overfilled the streets of downtown Santa Cruz on January 21 for the historic Women’s March Santa Cruz County, held in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington and hundreds of other Women’s Marches.

Prior to the march, over a hundred people rallied at the Watsonville Plaza before boarding a bus to Santa Cruz, which was provided by the organizers.

The crowd in Santa Cruz was huge, with official estimates ranging from 8,000 – 16,000 people, though it seemed like much more than that. Many estimate there were well over 25,000 people marching. Ralph Abraham, the famous mathematician and chaos theorist and professor at UC Santa Cruz since 1968, determined there were over 27,000 people participating in the event. A thick stream of marchers flowed down Pacific Avenue for over an hour and a half.

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Woman Used As Salami Tray at Altai Brands Event in Las Vegas

Altai Brands of Salinas, California, purveyors of gourmet cannabis edibles, objectifies woman as salami tray at Marijuana Business Conference after-party in Las Vegas.

[ A woman was treated like a piece of meat at the Altai Brands after-party in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 17, 2016. Photo by Adam Mintz via social media. ]

Calls to boycott Altai Brands began after a disturbing photo was circulated on social media showing a nearly nude woman laying on a table covered in slices of salami and other meats. In addition to being surrounded by slices of cheese, the photo also shows people holding drinks while standing near the woman. The event, hosted by Altai Brands, was a private after-party on November 17 for the fifth annual Marijuana Business Conference and Expo which took place from Novemmber 15-18, 2016 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

In a post titled “WTF?! And Just When You Thought Women Were Welcome Here” on the website for Her Canna Life, a community of women interested in the cannabis industry, Aliza Sherman writes, “An uproar took place online following #MJBizCon in Vegas this past week. At an after party, Altai Brands apparently went culturally tone deaf when they covered a woman in deli meats and served her up on the appetizer table. Comments ranged from shock to outrage in social media with calls to boycott the male-led company.”

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Solidarity with San Quintín Farmworkers at Driscoll’s Distribution Center in Aromas, CA

Farmworkers in San Quintín, México are urging people throughout the world to Boycott Driscoll’s products, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.

[ Demonstrators briefly block the entrance to the Driscoll’s Distribution Center in Aromas, California on October 15, 2016 in solidarity with farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico leading an international boycott of Driscoll’s. ]

On October 15, 2016, about 40 people, including students from UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, and Watsonville High School, as well as community members from Santa Cruz and Watsonville, came out to the Driscoll’s Distribution Center and Berry Store in Aromas, California to relay the message that the boycott of Driscoll’s continues until Driscoll’s negotiates a union contract with the farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico who harvest the lucrative berries. Currently, farmworkers receive as little as $6 a day for 12-15 hours of work, with no benefits or job security.

Demonstrators said the action was a great success and another step forward on the path to justice. Actions also occurred on October 15 in Bellingham, WA, Chicago, IL, New York City, NY, San Diego, CA, as well as in Mexico City, Tijuana, and Mexicali, Mexico.

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Prison Strike Solidarity in Oakland

Grabbing banners, flags, and signs, people took to the streets and marched through the downtown to several corporations that profit from prison labor.

[ Hundreds of demonstrators march through Downtown Oakland on September 10, 2016 in solidarity with the nationwide prison strike. The prisoner work stoppage was organized to begin on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising. ]

Over 300 People Take the Streets to Target Corporations Profiting from Prison Slavery

Text from It’s Going Down*
Photos by Bradley Allen
* Written from the perspective of organizers and participants.

On September 10, 2016 in Oakland, CA, over 300 people took part in a march, rally, and demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing Prison Strike happening across US prisons, jails, and detention facilities. People gathered at 1 PM at Latham Square in Downtown Oakland and held banners, signs, and red and black flags. Several speakers addressed the crowd, the first, a formerly incarcerated member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), gave a speech discussing the cause of the strike, the need for class solidarity, and the revolutionary potential of these events moving beyond making just demands. From the speech:

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Boycott Driscoll’s Protest at Watsonville Strawberry Festival

A banner declaring “No More Blood Berries” hung from the most iconic buildings in downtown Watsonville, which hover over the Strawberry Festival and stand as subtle reminders of the apple industry in the Pájaro Valley.

[ Michael Garcia of the Watsonville Brown Berets speaks with five people about the Driscoll’s Boycott in Strawberry Lane at the Watsonville Strawberry Festival on August 6, 2016. ]

On August 6 and 7, 2016, local activists engaged thousands of people at the 22nd Annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival to raise awareness about the Driscoll’s Boycott and the harsh realities of farmworkers who pick the precious berries. The Boycott Driscoll’s movement is led by, and in solidarity with, farmworkers in San Quintín, México and Washington state fighting for union contracts.

Demonstrators, including the Watsonville Brown Berets, handed out thousands of flyers for Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), an independent union formed by farmworkers in Washington state in July 2013. FUJ has over 450 members and holds elections as well as democratically run business meetings. FUJ maintains a website, Boycott Sakuma Berries, which is the best resource online for information in English about the ongoing labor struggle.

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