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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UFW & Driscoll’s: United To Exploit

Why won’t the United Farm Workers support the Driscoll’s Boycott?

[ Comprehensive Immigration Reform rally in Oxnard, California on May 1, 2013, International Workers Day. Children and adults wave red and black UFW flags while holding a Reiter Affiliated Companies banner next to a company representative holding a UFW flag. ]

Why won’t the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) support the Driscoll’s Boycott? That’s one of the questions UFW Vice President Lauro Barajas would not answer after he spoke at Hillary Clinton’s rally in Salinas on May 25.

There are two other questions that Barajas was unwilling to answer. He was asked why he personally took down UFW flags while people were speaking on stage and asking for support of the Driscoll’s Boycott at the Cesar Chavez March last month in Salinas. Barajas also refused to reveal anything about the UFW’s intimate relationship with Reiter Affiliated Companies, an Oxnard-based subsidiary of Driscoll’s which grows berries in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Northern Africa.

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UFW Tries to Silence Boycott Driscoll’s Activists at Cesar Chavez March

What is UFW (United Farm Workers) doing to support farmworkers fighting for justice in San Quintín, México and Washington state? Nothing.

[ FUJ member Lázaro Matamoros and Chelsea Thaw of FUJ’s boycott coordination team carry a Boycott Driscoll’s banner in the annual Cesar Chavez March in Salinas, California. April 3, 2016. Photo by Michal Garcia. ]

On Sunday, April 3, Michael Garcia and fellow Watsonville Brown Berets traveled a short distance to Salinas, California to attend the annual Cesar Chavez March and Rally presented by United Farm Workers (UFW). The Watsonville Brown Berets were joined by members of Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), an independent farmworker union in Burlington, Washington fighting for a union contract, and initiators of the boycott against Driscoll’s.

The Watsonville Brown Berets (WBB) and FUJ activists spoke with people assembled at Cesar Chavez Community Park and handed out flyers about the growing movement to boycott Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry distributor. FUJ, along with tens of thousands of farmworkers in San Quintín, México, are fighting to end wage theft and poverty wages, inhumane production standards, and retaliation from protected union activity.

Although advocating for farmworkers’ rights seems like it would be warmly welcomed by UFW, that was unfortunately not the experience for WBB and FUJ members. Garcia, born and raised in Watsonville, noticed that his friend was working the stage and asked if his group could have some time later to speak about the Driscoll’s boycott. Garcia’s friend, who was both the owner of the stage and a mariachi musician performing at the event, agreed to provide Garcia time. The stage owner, however, was then reportedly approached by UFW representatives and specifically told that UFW does not want WBB or FUJ speaking from the stage.

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A View of Salinas Chinatown

Salinas Chinatown, a six block, twenty-nine acre neighborhood, is a refuge for members of our society who have been marginalized and discriminated against. Taylor Farms, the world’s largest producer of cut vegetables and salads, built their new five-story headquarters in Oldtown Salinas, with a view of Chinatown.

[ View of Chinatown, in the background on the other side of the tracks, from the Monterey Street Parking Garage on E. Market Street in Salinas. ]

Salinas Chinatown, a six block, twenty-nine acre neighborhood, is a refuge for members of our society who have been marginalized and discriminated against. In March 2015, the Salinas Downtown Vibrancy Plan was approved by the city council “to address serious needs to update Downtown’s infrastructure to assure pedestrian safety, calm vehicular traffic to encourage increased bicycle use, provide a sustainable parking strategy, and create a sense of place through art and culture that attracts visitors to a new, safe destination.”

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Frank Alvarado Sr. Speaks Out Against Salinas Police; Declares “There Will Be Justice”

Frank Alvarado Sr. spoke out against the local “PAL Program” in Salinas, explaining that it is nothing more than a farce for the Salinas Police Department.

At an October 1 press conference in front of Salinas City Hall, family members of Frank Alvarado reacted to the Salinas Police Department’s release of names of officers who shot and killed four Salinas residents in separate incidents this year — all four were Latino men in East Salinas.

The press conference was coordinated by Margaret Serna Bonetti, a civil and human rights activist in Salinas advocating on behalf of the families of Carlos Mejia and Frank Alvarado. Bonetti, who stated she is not being paid for her advocacy, serves as a link between the families and Oakland-based attorney John Burris. On behalf of the Mejia and Alvarado families, Burris asked the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in July to investigate incidents and patterns of police brutality by SPD.

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Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police

Frank’s niece Natalie righteously proclaimed, “It’s not right. There was no reason for how he was killed; no way to justify their actions.”

Update (7/15/14): Information on Donations to Frank’s Family

On July 10, 2014 at around 5 AM, officers with the Salinas Police Department reportedly shot and killed Frank Alvarado at a private home in East Salinas. Frank was a member of Santa Cruz-based Sin Barras and spoke out against prison expansion at a rally in Santa Cruz on May 14. His killing was at least the fourth murder by Salinas Police Department cops since March 21, 2014. All four police killings have been of Latino men, and all have occurred in East Salinas.

At the May 14, 2014 rally in Santa Cruz, Frank spoke passionately about the need to budget state money for social programs instead of prison expansion. Frank also shared his personal experience of incarceration, and described his release from prison in July of 2013. He cautioned that building more prisons at the sacrifice of schools and parks will lead to devastating results for California. “You will have your hell if you build those prisons,” he said.

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Salinas P.D. Kills Three. Let’s Have a Rally!

Rudy Medina’s banner read, “Desarmen a la policía.” Medina said, “The Police Department can’t get away with abusing and murdering youth.”

On Saturday, May 31, approximately three dozen people, most with ties to the Salinas Police Department or other law enforcement, rallied at the intersection of West Alisal Street and Lincoln Avenue in Salinas to show their support for the Salinas Police Department. Event organizer Ashley Ray wrote, “we organized the rally as a show of support for the police department and their efforts and EVERY action to keep the community safe. We do not support abuse of authority, racism, bigotry or oppression.”

In response, the Direct Action Monterey Network (DAMN) and their comrades in Salinas mobilized a small counter demonstration “because a pro-cop rally in response to what’s been going on is a pro-murder-of-Latino-farmworkers rally and can not be left unanswered.”

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