Thursday, March 22, 2012

Updates 3/22/12

Hello everyone.

I would like to thank all of you for the encouragement you gave me when I was worried about funding for Grad School. I received a phone call yesterday letting me know that I have been chosen for a fellowship, which will fund me for up to two years. I am so thrilled to be a recipient of this fellowship, and no longer have to panic over if I can actually attend. What an amazing turn of events. :)

On to the news:

-- Thousands of Occupiers across the country joined up with other protesters in the Million Hoodie March in support of Trayvon Martin and his family. Trayvon was 17 years old when he was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch captain last month in Florida. He had bought some candy and other groceries at a local convenience store, and was headed back home when he was shot. Trayvon was not armed, yet the neighborhood watch captain says he shot the young man in self-defense. He has not been arrested, and city commissioners have cast a no confidence vote against the police chief in charge of the case. Protesters rallied in many cities, including NYC, Buffalo, and Miami to show their support for the family and demand the arrest of the offending shooter.

-- Occupiers in Denver were surprised with an eviction and fence erection early Wednesday morning, as the city prepares to fix up the park for spring. Many of the Occupiers present say there was no warning before they were asked to vacate the premises, and a huge fence was erected not long after. The city says they are upgrading the area, adding better water irrigation systems, and that their work should completed by the end of April.

-- UC Davis may be breaking the law in their refusal to release documents concerning the pepper spray event. A judge ruled earlier this week that all but a few sections could be released, but when the Daily Democrat newspaper used the California Public Records Act to request a copy, UC lawyers refused. They said the report no longer reflects the final findings due to alterations, and the committee wishes to discuss it further before releasing it. Both reasons were strongly criticized. The attorney for the police union is confused at the University's refusal as well, seeing that the University was the one challenging him in court to release the documents.

-- Occupiers are joining up with several other groups to call on the United Nations, asking them to investigate the tortuous housing conditions found at many California prisons. They are asking that the Red Cross also be allowed into the prisons. The groups want special investigation into "segregated housing," which allows prison officials to put prisoners in solitary confinement for years based on gang membership, even if the prisoner has never been tried for, or convicted of, such a "crime." The hierarchy system found in prisons can make it very dangerous for a prisoner to get out of solitary confinement, because the only methods to do so involve snitching on other gang members, or informing prison officials that they have dropped out of the gang, which is dangerous in itself. If they do neither of these things, they can be held in solitary for up to six years.

-- Here is an interesting article concerning the role played by the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to Occupy groups. It's rather intriguing to see this branch of the government attempting to distance itself from the NYPD and their tactics.


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