Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Occupy Vallejo at the steps of City Hall
2012-05-02 "Nearly 40 rally at Vallejo City Hall steps in Occupy event" by Jessica A. York from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
Occupy Vallejo's May Day rally on the steps of City Hall drew at its peak more than three dozen people demanding the right to equality.
What they got was not only some attention, but even a mooning.
Standing in a loose ring outdoors, the informal gathering allowed a diverse group of speakers to step forward and share particular issues of concern such as workers' rights, politics and housing.
The hour-long rally was peaceful, with no interaction between protesters and occasionally seen police officers in the area.
Vallejo resident Roger Wilkins, a Teamsters Local 315 member, said Tuesday's event, timed for International Workers Rights Day, came after several efforts to combine two Occupy groups in Vallejo proved unsuccessful.
"(So) we just put out this call to action," said Wilkins, who heard that about four people rallied in Vallejo for last year's May Day. "As you can see, we're growing. Call this a fumbling first attempt. But we're not going anywhere -- we live here."
Wilkins said he and others are hoping to start a dialogue among the "99 percent" -- a reference to the vast majority of the population not in the highest income bracket and typically targeted in the national Occupy movement.
Vallejo's gathering drew residents young and old, as well as fellow Occupy protesters from Humboldt and Concord, who came to show solidarity with Vallejo's effort.
One speaker drew the crowd's attention to a nearby bank-foreclosed property auction, a regular sight on City Hall steps. The oft-changing auction group, typically wary of public attention, chuckled at derogatory comments sent their way but otherwise did not respond. However, one man in the small auction circle bent over and mooned the Occupy rally, slapping his own backside.
One Occupy Concord speaker, who came armed with a variety of small protest signs, said he was happy to see a healthy turnout in the "sleepy little town" of Vallejo.
Several members of the rally planned to drive to Oakland to join up with the larger May Day General Strike events being held there.
Occupy Vallejo's May Day rally event drew more than three dozen participants to the steps of Vallejo City Hall Tuesday morning. (Jessica A. York/Times-Herald)
2012-04-29 "'May Day' rally by Occupy Vallejo set for City Hall steps" from "Vallejo Times Herald"
Vallejo will make a national movement personal on Tuesday morning.
Occupy Vallejo, joined by several partner groups, has planned a public rally at 10:30 a.m. on the City Hall steps in support of a range of community issues like affordable education and housing, and respect for workers, organizers said.
The event is timed to May 1, or "May Day," a day of protest initially recognizing the support of an eight-hour work day and which has progressed to represent advocacy for workers' rights internationally.
"In Vallejo, we need to come together," Vallejo event organizer Joel Schor said. "There's people that have different issues in society -- people with housing issues, union issues, there's students. And a lot of time we're doing our thing separately from each other."
"A lot of time with the Occupy movement, people here just hear the 99 percent," Schor added. "We want to put out to the public some concrete demands that a lot of people are struggling right now in the United States."
The Vallejo activists are planning to join the national "Occupy" movement's general strike, and plan to caravan together to join up with their Occupy Oakland counterparts following the Vallejo rally, Schor said.
Rally organizers have not sought a permit from the city, Schor said, due to past event permit requests that purportedly have gone unheeded by police, and because the group will not be using amplified sound.
Featured speaker Shawn Polly, founder of a men's home at 130 Jordan St., is expected to air some of his personal difficulties at the rally. Polly said his men's home is housed in a bank-foreclosed home which he has leased for more than a year and stopped paying rent on due to a dispute with the property owner. In the meantime, he lacks a federal nonprofit designation or needed city permitting for his venture, and wants to open a homeless shelter. Polly said in an interview Friday that he has supported several important efforts, including ministering to drug addicts, homeless people and prostitutes on a street corner weekly, has launched a neighborhood watch group, gathered food for Haiti last year and plans plant a community garden. And yet, he said, he has been unable to secure financial or religious backing for his ventures.
"I would love for people to actually take me serious for once," said Polly, who also runs a medical marijuana edible service. "I would love for people to ask me how I would open a homeless shelter here, how I would help the homeless."
For more information on Tuesday's event, expected to run from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at 555 Santa Clara St., contact Schor at 980-6450.
Posted by Northbay Uprising Radio at 11:47 AM