Operation Bike Nation and The Sprockettes Hit Santa Cruz

The Sprockettes, Portland’s all female mini-bike dance team, rolled their veggie oil powered bus into Santa Cruz to give two free performances at the Bike Church on July 22nd. Operation Bike Nation 2008, stopping in bike-friendly towns from Santa Cruz to Seattle, features sex-positive club music while The Sprockettes dance in hot pink and black clothing and do tricks on mini-bikes.

The Sprockettes say their mission is to support and interact with the communities around them, advocate bicycle riding, promote positive self-image for all body types, encourage a healthly and physical lifestyle, and to organize and operate their dance troupe in a collective fashion.

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Introduction to Bicycles with Free Skool Santa Cruz, Summer 2008

Free Skool Santa Cruz (FSSC) is a completely grassroots effort, a collection of locals acting collectively and autonomously to create a skill-sharing network, a school without institutional control. It is an opportunity to learn from others and share what they know, to help create self-reliance, vital communities, and beauty in the world. Classes and workshops offered during the summer of 2008 include free drawing at Natural Bridges, Ju-Jitsu, knitting, letter writing to prisoners, consent and sexual/intimate violence, building a bike wheel, and so much more.

On July 18th, I went to the Bike Church because the back tire was flat on my bicycle. Although the mechanic was getting ready to close shop for the day, I given a warm welcome to put my bike up on a rack and repair it myself. It felt good to personally take care of my transportation needs rather than rely on the assistance of someone else. I returned home, checked my Free Skool Santa Cruz calendar, and learned that a class called “Intro to Bikes, Bike Maintenance” was being held the next morning at the Bike Church.

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AFSCME on Strike During New Student Orientations at UCSC

Incoming UC Santa Cruz students and their families got an official orientation to college on July 17th while campus service workers were striking for the fourth day in a row. Since 2004, the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ) at UC Santa Cruz has been working to spread awareness and solidarity with the hardest-working and lowest-paid employees at the University of California (UC). In the last year alone, the demand to end poverty wages at the UC has been carried far and wide, including meetings of the UC Regents, dorms, dinning halls and classrooms, an alumni fundraiser luncheon, a $1,000 a plate dinner with Chancellor George Bluementhal, the Chancellor’s inauguration, Highway 1, as well as to representatives in Sacramento. Service workers are vital to the UC, however AFSCME, the union representing the workers, reports that they are nowhere near reaching a fair settlement with the UC.

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Day One of AFSCME’s Five Day Strike at UCSC

July 14th kicked off AFSCME’s five day strike at the University of California’s ten campuses and five medical centers. At UC Santa Cruz, AFSCME workers, students, workers from supporting unions, and other community members are picketing at the intersection of Bay and High at the base of campus. County buses are respecting the picket line by dropping people off at the base of campus. Some classes were held at the base of the campus and other spaces in Santa Cruz. Scabs have been hired by the UC, but AFSCME workers say as the week continues, people will start to notice declines in the quality of service and cleanliness in buildings, bathrooms, dinning halls and throughout campus.

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Banner Manifesto on Highway One

On Friday July 11th, a group of about 30 people brought together by Youth Coalition Santa Cruz (YCSC), the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), and the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz (VCSC) all participated in a project to bring a series of radical and contemplative statements to motorists on Highway 1 during rush hour. Dubbed, the “Freeway Banner Manifesto” by organizers, it was an attempt to display a different message on every overpass from Santa Cruz to Watsonville on Highway 1. The effort was successful and 13 different banners were displayed for approximately 45 minutes right in the middle of rush hour. The project was spearheaded by members of YCSC and the other two organizations provided the numerous volunteers necessary for the undertaking.

A participant and YCSC member dubbed “Katfish” had this to say, “I wanted to try to make the world a less bleak and depressing place by discussing these bleak and sometimes depressing issues in an uplifting way. I want to see reality for what it is; not only are the banners things that “normal” people don’t normally think about, they’re also things that people sometimes try not to think about because they are so difficult. If people don’t communicate feelings or important ideas than things won’t progress and might even regress. We want to stop things from getting worse.”

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