The 16th annual Santa Cruz Dyke March took place on May 31st to increase lesbian visibility and activism. The gathering, unsponsored and unpermitted, began at the clock tower and featured local poets and musicians. After a three and a half hour rally, queers from near and far, and allies, marched down Front St. to Laurel St. and then up Pacific Ave. while spectators lined the sidewalks.
On May 23rd, 2008, workers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and across the entire UC system, announced the almost unanimous vote of “Yes!” to strike to win a fair contract. Workers and students assembled in the Baytree Plaza at UC Santa Cruz to publicize the overwhelmingly affirmative vote to strike for two days from Wednesday, June 4th through Thursday, June 5th. However, the workers, who have been negotiating in good faith since August, still hold hope that a strike can be averted.
The central issue has been that wages have fallen dramatically behind other hospitals (UC has 5 medical centers) and California’s community colleges where workers are paid an average of 25% higher for the same work. For service workers, wages are as low as $10 an hour, forcing many to work 2-3 jobs or rely on public assistance to meet the basic needs of their families.
On May 13th, 2008, a huge mob of cyclists rolled peacefully through the streets of Santa Cruz after a 6pm convergence at the Clock Tower. Bikers spanned city blocks in the right lane of Mission Street to raise awareness about California Vehicle Code Section 21202, cyclists may use the full right lane when the lane “is too narrow for a bicycle to safely ride to the side of a motor vehicle.” Many people wore yellow shirts with a figure of a bike and the words “MAY USE FULL LANE cvc 21202” as they rode westbound on Mission, up Bay, east on King St. and down to the City Council meeting at 7pm.
Marciano Cruz was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. For over 20 years, Marciano, also known as Chango, has been working to improve the lives of people in the greater Santa Cruz community. He is currently a staff member at the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV). On May 11th, Marciano received the “Most Caring Coach Award” by USA Weekend, a magazine with distribution in 600 newspapers to 23 million households each week. He is being honored for his work as founder, chief organizer and president of La Liga de La Comunidad, a countywide soccer league for youth and adults.
On May 12th, Marciano was recognized with “Marciano Cruz Day” in the city of Santa Cruz and received a Mayor’s Proclamation from Ryan Coonerty during a celebration in the parking lot of the RCNV. Marciano was also presented with resolutions from John Laird of the California State Assembly and Joe Simitian of the California State Senate. In addition to his time and dedication to La Liga de La Comunidad, Marciano also enjoys surfing with his friends and helping kids learn how to surf safely with proper gear. The Beach Flats Community Garden, which is now blooming with new growth, began with the vision and dedication of Marciano and some of his friends from the neighborhood.
Hundreds of families, students and workers participated in May Day activities in Watsonville which included free legal consultations, a rally in the plaza with speakers, musicians, face painting and a brinkolin (jump house) for kids. Homemade signs stated, human rights start with immigrants, legalization now, end the war, we are not criminals, fuck Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), lets help people!, yes we can, and asked the fundamental question, “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
After the march and rally ended and the sun went down, there was an outdoor screening of “Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary.” The filmmakers follow Nayo and Milton, migrants from Chinandega, Nicaragua as they cross through Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States in their attempt to reach Canada.