On August 24th, dozens of community members gathered in Beach Flats Park for a vigil in solidarity with Elvira Arellano and all of the other families in risk of separation because of the US government’s inhumane immigration laws and selective enforcement practices. The emergency rally and vigil was coordinated by M.E.Ch.A. de La Tierra with the support of a handful of local organizations. People spoke about the case of Elvira Arellano, who, with her son Saul, has become a national symbol of the destruction of families by federal policy.
In response to an endless stream of tickets from police and rangers for illegal sleeping, Santa Cruz homeless people are now engaged in an ongoing protest against the sleeping ban. In the early morning of August 16th, over 30 people were sleeping on the hard bricks at City Hall. People have slept at City Hall, 809 Center Street, every night since August 12th to visualize their lack of a place to legally sleep. There are no plans to end the protest until people are allowed to legally sleep somewhere.
The following photographs were taken late in the night of August 13th and early in the morning of August 16th. The photographs are being published in an effort to raise awareness of the terrible situation that homeless people face when their human need to sleep is treated as a criminal act. People should not have to worry about harassment and tickets from police and rangers when they cover up with a blanket or fall asleep at night.
Santa Cruz City Hall was the most recent location to be transformed into an outdoor movie theater by the Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In collective and guests. On August 12th, the Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In and Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) presented a special screening of Sir! No Sir!, David Zeiger’s documentary chronicling the largely forgotten anti-war activities of American GIs and other members of the military during the Vietnam era. The screening was one of many activities which took place on August 12th in Santa Cruz as part of an organizing effort for a federal lawsuit against Santa Cruz’s cruel sleeping ban.
On August 11th, Raging Grannies and friends rallied on the corner of Hamilton and Bascom to keep Campbell a hate-free zone, stop the militarization of the border and protest the Minutemen. The Golden Gate Minutemen / East Bay Coalition for Border Security are trying to expand their anti-immigrant interpretation of God’s Law and the Bible to the South Bay. Campbell is a small city in Santa Clara County next to San Jose and just over the hill (Highway 17) from Santa Cruz.
During the late 1800s, Campbell was the center for shipping fruit grown in the surrounding area, but now Campbell is home to eBay, the world’s largest auction and shopping website with their headquarters only a block away from the protest on Hamilton. Many people will remember Campbell for the Pruneyard Shopping Center, a sprawling open-air retail complex which was involved in a famous U.S. Supreme Court case that established the extent of the right to free speech in California.
On August 9th, I cautiously rode my bicycle to the intersection of Bay and Mission Streets. I was at this intersection two days ago for a memorial to John Myslin, however those of us there were unaware of his identity at that time. We now know that Mr. Myslin was loved by his students at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz where he was a devoted teacher of history, his favorite subject. John Myslin’s younger brother Robert commented online that he will remember John as “a teacher, a brother, and a best friend.”
On August 7th, John Myslin, a history teacher and advisor at Pacific Collegiate School (PCS), was run over and killed by a semi-truck at the intersection of Bay Street and Mission Street (Highway 1) in Santa Cruz while riding his bicycle. Community members held a vigil that evening for someone whose identity was unknown to them. Students at PCS and more community members soon learned that Mr. Myslin had passed away and held a memorial vigil on the evening of August 8th, adding flowers to the intersection of Bay and Mission along with candles and loving messages. One of the items left at the memorial was a collection of photographs and an autobiography which I have transcribed below.