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News :: Poverty & Urban Development

Gulf Coast Communities Still Need Help from Santa Cruz

Local resident Curtis Reliford, a community organizer and founder of "Brothers Teaching Brothers," will be returning to the Gulf Coast region for a second trip to supply much-needed supplies. (See also: "Thank You Santa Cruz!" from Shreveport, Bogalousa and New Orleans, Louisiana). I have begun traveling through the region in advance to see what supplies are needed where. The past few days we have been traveling through Texas to find shelters, mostly serving Hurrican Rita survivors.

Yesterday, we stopped in Winnie, where a community center has been working with the Red Cross to serve the community and displaced Katrina survivors. While the shelter should be closing soon, many of the remaining survivors still do not know where their family is and have nohwere to go.

Today we traveled further East and saw more severe destruction. In Nederland we found Triumph Church, which had its sign blown over but is serving as a major relief center for the surroundign area. We met with Daemon Scapin, the head pastor, who told us that they have been feeding thousands of people each day. The will be shifting their strategy from providing first-response aid (food, water, and medicine) to providing and transporting supplies that will assist residents in cleaning up their homes.

Futher north on I-69, outside of Beaumont, we found hundreds of cars parked at the Church of the Rock where more residents were registering for aid and recieving meals. We met with Robert Benlien, a pastor there who is coordinating supplies. When asked what supplies they need, he replied, "everything." Apparantly, all they have recieved from FEMA is napkins and paper towels. [ Read the full report which was posted from the internet station set up at Church of the Rock. ]

URGENT Relief Needed for Native American Communities in Louisiana

The Native American tribes of the Houma, Pointe-au-Chien, and Biloxi Chitimacha of southern Louisiana have faced a monumental struggle in channeling relief efforts to their tribal members devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For many communities, government aid has been virtually absent and supplies are only coming in from grassroots relief efforts.

Though hope and humor persist, the challenge continues to grow. The more populous indian communities in Terrebonne Parish such as Dulac, DuLarge, Grand Caillou, Montegut, Pointe-au-Chien and Isle de Jean Charles escaped extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina but became victims to the storm surge of Hurricane Rita. Another 4000 people were forced from their homes by eight feet of flood waters and a four inch layer of mud.

The rising tides from Hurricane Rita also breeched recently repaired levees in Plaquemines, St. Bernard and lower Jefferson Parishes, re-flooding communities that were beginning to dry out from the 150 mph winds and storm surge caused by Hurricane Katrina. There is concern, that without immediate assistance in the form of elder care, cleaning, and rebuilding of damaged homes, community members may move away from the area fragmenting traditions and culture. [ Read more about needed Supplies, Volunteer Work Teams and Long Term Financial Assistance ]

see also: Hurricane Relief - List of Types of Donations Most Needed (as of 13 OCT 2005)

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News :: Alternative Media : Arts & Culture : Government & Elections : Poverty & Urban Development

Santa Cruz Billboard Shows Remarkable Candor

Santa Cruz, CA, October 7th, 2005: A Red Cross advertisement on Santa Cruz County's only remaining billboard, the "whale billboard" along Highway 17, was modified today by the Billboard Liberation Front who struck in the name of truth-in-advertising.

Where before the billboard exhorted people to give to the Red Cross, the added text reads "'cuz the government ain't doing squat."

This became painfully clear in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. It was revealed that not only had the Bush administration pulled funding for levy repair in New Orleans to fund the war in Iraq, but left National Guard troops unavailable in the wake of the disaster. The largely poor and black sections of the city were left without food, water, or relief. Critics of the government’s response to the disaster, pointed out that government response to the disaster was inadequate at best, and In many cases made a bad situation worse.

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News :: Education & Youth : Globalization & Capitalism : Labor & Economics : Media Criticism : Transportation

Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

On Thursday, UCSC's College Republicans held a rally against the striking Metro bus drivers. While publicized all over campus, only a handful of students showed up to join them.

However, having heard of the anti-worker rally, students from the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ), who have been very active supporting the bus drivers, were quick to react. They carpooled down to the rally and had far outnumbered the Republicans even before they arrived. While the mainstream media jumped at the opportunity to discredit the bus drivers' union (UTU Local 23), the pro-worker students showed that UCSC is overwhelmingly in solidarity with the bus drivers.

On Monday at UCSC, over 50 students and workers walked into Mike Rotkin's office, resulting in his acknowledgement that the Transit Board made a bad decision. On Friday, students and workers from UCSC will march at 4pm from the base of campus to the downtown Metro Center to show their solidarity.

Photos: Striking Bus Drivers, College Rupublikkkans and Student Solidarity || Evening Rally: Union and Student Solidarity at the Santa Cruz Metro Center

Audio: SC Metro Strikers Meet Anti-Strikers || Rockin' the Boat: Metro Strike Heats Up

see also: Bus Drivers to Follow in Cesar Chavez’ Footsteps: Watsonville-Santa Cruz March for Public Transit Set for Sunday || March Friday to Support Bus Drivers & Get Buses Rolling! || Students and Workers Visit Rotkin to Demand an End to the Bus Strike || Support The Bus Drivers, Upcoming Actions, Bike Campaign

previous coverage: Santa Cruz Bus Drivers on Strike

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News :: Peace & War : Resistance & Tactics

Resistance to War Spreads to Small Town America

Regular Wednesday Protest in Felton

Wednesday afternoon, anti-war protests spread to the small town of Felton, a Santa Cruz County town of 1500. Protesters promised to hold their vigil every Wednesday afternoon until the end of the war.

The protesters meet at the corner of Highway 9 and Graham Hill Road. They held signs and lit candles. Some signs read "Ask the President What He Plans To Do About the War" and "Email the President and Tell Hium to Meet With Cindy."

More than a dozen protesters greeted the afternoon stream of commuters returning to the San Lorenzo Valley. Many commuters honked and yelled in support of the protest.

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News :: Environment & Food : Globalization & Capitalism : Poverty & Urban Development

Malik Rahim Speaks About the Grassroots Response to Hurricane Katrina

On October 4, Malik Rahim, a longtime community activist in New Orleans and San Francisco, spoke at the Women's Building in San Francisco about the situation in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the disastrous response by the Bush administration and other government agencies. Malik, who lives in the Algiers community of New Orleans, discussed the grassroots community relief and rebuilding efforts underway through the Common Ground collective. (39:39 minutes)

Audio: Malik - download the mp3 or download the torrent

This event raised awareness and funds for Common Ground, a community-run organization based in the Algiers community of New Orleans offering temporary assistance and mutual aid to the citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Common Ground's team includes doctors, lawyers, aid workers, community organizers, and volunteers of all stripes and creeds.


News :: Labor & Economics

Parent Leaders Support Head Start Workers' Vote to Strike Over Non-Economic Issues

The Santa Cruz County Community Counseling Center (SCCCC), the parent corporation for the Head Start Program, publicly expressed disbelief that workers would be willing to strike over non-economic issues. Parent Leader Paola Rojas says she understands easily.

According to Rojas, elected parent leaders who make up the Parent Policy Council have submitted no fewer than three petitions to the agency in the past twelve-months. Federal mandates require that parents have a say in how the program is run along with the agency’s Board of Trustees. “But SCCCC has done everything it can to stop us? says Rojas. Not only have petitions been ignored but Administrators have attempted to intimidate us and walked out of meetings when confronted.

Workers, too, say the agency is not listening. Last week, they voted to give their negotiators strike authorization. The message to SCCCC is that time is running out. For workers, the long negotiation process has deepened divisions with the agency. Workers voted for a union because of heavy-handed agency actions; the difficult negotiations have only strengthened the workers’ resolve. Agency non-responsiveness to workers and parent leaders has convinced workers that they must hold out for binding arbitration to assure fairness when grievances arise.

Audio: WIN: Head Start Workers Poised to Strike

Photos: Rally Held to Support Head Start Workers

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Education & Youth : Globalization & Capitalism : Labor & Economics : Poverty & Urban Development

Students and Workers Demand a Sweat-Free UC

As part of a national anti-sweatshop campaign taking place at over 40 colleges and universities in the U.S., students and workers from UC Santa Cruz held a rally and march to demand that UCSC apparel no longer be produced in sweatshops.

The marchers, a few of whom had family members currently working in sweatshops overseas or have had personal experiences themselves, initially educated the many passerbys in busy Baytree Plaza before marching to the Chancellor's office where a list of demands was presented to an administrative representative. Their follow-through will be closely watched.

Audio: Rockin' the Boat: Students Rally for Sweat-Free Campus

Photos: UCSC is in Violation of their Code of Conduct || 25 Cents Makes a Difference: Wash Out the Sweat

[ United Students Against Sweatshops ]

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News :: Animal Rights : Environment & Food : Globalization & Capitalism

World Farm Animals Day at KFC in Santa Cruz

There were about a dozen people at the demonstration on Mission St. in Santa Cruz on October 2, World Farm Animals Day, to protest KFC. Mission St. is also Highway 1 and there were a lot of people that honked in support of the demonstration. Informational flyers were passed out to passing motorists, as well as customers who were both entering and leaving KFC. This particular demonstration lasted about an hour, and by the time we left, there were only two customers in the restaurant.

At one point, I was standing on the sidewalk and looking inside the KFC when an employee flipped me the bird - you know, gave me the middle finger. I was quite amused by this so I walked up to her and asked her if she wanted to do that again for the camera. She declined and told me she was going to sue me.

But I have to say, the KFC employee of the day award goes to the manager for running after me and kicking me in the upper thigh. It is too bad that Amy, a film student at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, had stopped filming just seconds prior to him kicking me. However, for what it's worth, she recorded a statement saying that she witnessed the manager kick me.

Audio (mp3): Corporations in Santa Cruz || Ryan - health, veganism, the campaign to reform KFC... || Amy

[ The Progressive Animal Rights Alliance of Santa Cruz || || World Farm Animals Day ]

see also: World Farm Animals Day in Israel

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Announcement :: Alternative Media

Let's Make Media

It's that time of year again. Join us and get involved in a local and global media revolution.

After taking the summer off from meetings, Santa Cruz Independent Media Center volunteers will be holding the first meeting of the season this Sunday, October 9th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Resource Center for Nonviolence. The RCNV is located at 515 Broadway off of Ocean in Santa Cruz.

Do you support the idea of a grassroots-based, media for the people? Are you interested in covering stories that often don't get accurately covered by the corporate media -- if at all? Do you have tech skills that you would like to use to support independent media? Whatever your interests, abilities and skills, you can volunteer to support independent media.

At the meeting, you can learn more about indymedia, how to use the site to pubish and how to use various mediums in online publishing. You can also coordinate with other imcistas and get any questions answered that you might have.

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News :: Peace & War


"We hope you will give it your serious attention, and we look forward to your reply."

On September 27th, the Santa Cruz City Council voted, UNANIMOUSLY, to resubmit a letter to the House Judiciary Committee of the United Sates Congress calling for the investigation and possible impeachment of all the members of the Bush Administration who have had anything to do with the war in Iraq, the "war on terror," and/or the treatment of the prisoners of those wars.

The original letter (.pdf) was sent on September 10th of 2003, but NO ANSWER was ever received! The HJC blew off both the Council and this Community!! In a moment of levity that got many laughs, Council Member Tim Fitzmaurice suggested that, this time, they send the letter "certified, return receipt required" and he would donate the money to do so!

Though the action in 2003 was reported world wide, what was not reported was the fact that in the 10 DAYS! following that vote, the council phone lines were jammed all day with calls from all over the country, from folks thanking and congratulating them for standing up and speaking out!! And that was two years ago!

The new cover letter, explaining why the Council is resubmitting their original letter, is copied below. Clearly, the evidence supporting the original concerns of this community has increased vastly in these last two years!! And in a recent poll taken after the release of the Downing Street Memos in May, over 47% of the people polled said they thought Bush should be impeached if he had lied about the reasons for invading Iraq.

see also: 478 Mayors in CA get appeal to call for the CA National Guard to Come Home Now!!!

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