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The YARR (Your Allied Rapid Response) Open House and Legal Observer Training on March 11 attracted a crowd of nearly 150 people to hear about how they could be part of the Rapid Response Team of Sanctuary Santa Cruz, supporting community members who are targets of an ICE raid or other forms of harassment or bullying. Three attorneys from the Immigrant Liberation Movement (ILM) conducted a training based on their work in three Bay Area Counties now networked in a Rapid Response System. YARR was formed in December 2016 shortly after the election cycle as an outgrowth of Sanctuary Santa Cruz.
Left wing activists, in partnership with tech employees, staged a rally against White House policies on March 14 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza in Palo Alto. The demonstration was attended by hundreds of people. Speakers at the four hour "Tech Stands Up" rally called for inclusion, diversity, and civil liberties. Tech Stands Up is an organization of people in the tech world who object to the Trump administration’s alt-right policies, and wants tech company leaders to speak out against the White House's discriminatory actions.
In the first comprehensive review of the more than 4,000 native bee species in North America and Hawaii, the Center for Biological Diversity has found that more than half the species with sufficient data to assess are declining. Nearly 1 in 4 is imperiled and at increasing risk of extinction. The widespread decline of European honeybees has been well documented in recent years, but until now much less has been revealed about the 4,337 native bee species in North America and Hawaii. The new analysis reveals that more than 700 species are in trouble from a range of serious threats.
On March 13, a judge in the US District Court in Oakland denied a motion to dismiss charges in the case of Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old woman killed by Emeryville police on February 3, 2015. Henderson’s family is seeking damages from the Emeryville police department for wrongful death, as well as changes to city policies on police use of force. The motion filed by the Emeryville police department claimed there was nothing for a jury to decide in the lawsuit, because officers Michelle Shepard and Warren Williams had a reasonable fear for their safety. Monday’s ruling means the lawsuit will go forward.
Anti-homeless architecture is common in Santa Cruz, including hi-frequency Mosquito Boxes in parks, removing planter boxes and free speech zones on Pacific, replacing the City Hall lawn with gravel and rocks, and now the ugly chain link fencing at the historic downtown post office. On March 11 and 12, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs decorated the anti-homeless fence at the post office to make it more attractive. Signs, toys, toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks, soap, clothes, shoes, flowers, and strips of fabric were weaved through the links of the fence.
On March 8, striking community members marched through downtown Santa Cruz in solidarity with Women's Strikes organized around the world on International Women's Day as a follow up to the massive Women's Marches held on January 21, 2017, the day after the Inauguration of Trump. One group participating in the March 8 demonstration was the UCSC March Collective, who invited people of all genders to join the action, stating, "We strike because we can't afford not to care."
On March 11, 2017, videos were uploaded to social media showing police in Vallejo, California brutalizing an individual who may have been experiencing mental health issues. The incident took place Friday, March 10 on Fairgrounds Drive in front of the Valero gas station. The Vallejo police officer captured on video punching and bashing with a flashlight has been identified as Spencer Bottomley, an ex-Marine. Bottomley was named in a strikingly similar brutality case, Derrick Lamoris Shields vs. City of Vallejo, for an incident on the night of April 11, 2016. According to the statement of claims, five Vallejo police officers "violated Plaintiff's rights [...] when they subjected Plaintiff to excessive and/deadly force and assault and battery."
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