On June 24, peace and human rights activists spent their day at the Live Oak Grange preparing the Santa Cruz contingent of this years Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba. This is the 17th year our fellow community members have challenged the travel ban to Cuba as well as the inhumane embargo on Cuba by our government. Volunteers did a quality inspection of donated supplies before loading them onto the dontated Ambulance, former Police SWAT wagon, and Peace Mobile. Other people put their handprints onto the vehicles to demonstrate peace, friendship and solidarity from across the sea.
On June 16th, US Veterans For Peace, Methodists United For Peace and other individuals held a vigil in Santa Cruz to mark 2,500 U.S. troops killed in Iraq and countless dead Iraqis. People held banners and peace flags in front of the town clock before marching down Pacific Avenue. We were joined mid-march by Hare Krishnas that had been chanting and dancing on the corner of Soquel. The march paused at Laurel and Pacific before returning to the plaza by the post office for a final peace circle.
On June 7th, UC Santa Cruz students concerned about their missing journalism program asked questions of Bill Ladusaw, UCSC’s Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education. Ladusaw seemed to place blame on UCSC’s faculty for the loss of the journalism program, while dodging questions about the misappropriation of funds at the administrative level, including Chancellor Denice Denton’s extravagant dog-run. Ladusaw encouraged students to seek support from faculty members and the academic senate for the reestablishment of the journalism program, though it was unclear why students should shift their focus off of UCSC’s administration.
On June 6th, UC Santa Cruz students and workers held multiple rallies and confronted Chancellor Denice Denton to demand affirmative diversity on campus. Workers and students are charging UCSC with active institutional racism and sexism by sustaining hidden systematic policies and practices that have the effect of disadvantaging students, faculty and workers of color. Affirmative diversity means actively working against the status quo of institutional racism and sexism at UCSC. The Diversity Coalition says the first step for UCSC is to “acknowledge it is not the progressive place it claims to be.”
Invitations were distributed to Reclaim The Streets of Santa Cruz on June 3rd with a free street party for everyone. Slowly but surely, musicians, artists, chalkers, dancers, bikers, disc tossers, walkers and other party goers began arriving at Pearl Alley in anticipation of Saturday night’s “experiment in spontaneous urban uprising.”
Free loaves of challah and a jug-band got the party started in Pearl Alley. At about 8pm, people drifted into slow-moving traffic on Pacific Avenue to “take over the streets and reclaim community space for community use!”