Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Juneteenth in Santa Cruz

Community members in Santa Cruz commemorated Juneteenth this year with a large march from Louden Nelson Center to Santa Cruz City Hall, where speakers were heard.

Reverend Deborah L. Johnson of Inner Light Ministries started off the speeches with a history of the Juneteenth holiday. Other speakers included Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.

Mission Santa Cruz Spray Painted and Mission Bell Removed During Abolish Police March

The original Mission Santa Cruz adobe and the replica mission were both spray painted during a demonstration organized on June 10 in Santa Cruz in support of the abolition of police. The phrase "Fuck Your Citizenship" was painted on the Neary-Rodriguez Adobe, and the phrase "Maldita Cruz" was spray painted on two structures. The word maldita means "damned" or "cursed" in Spanish. Additionally, the word "genocide" was painted on the state park plaque, and the mission bell located in Mission Plaza Park was removed.

Mission bells were installed across the state to memorialize the California missions. The bell displayed in Mission Plaza Park was donated by the Santa Cruz Woman's Club in 1998. In 2019, local indigenous leaders lead a successful campaign to remove the mission bell at UC Santa Cruz. They stated in a news release that the California mission system was a place where their ancestors were "enslaved, whipped, raped, tortured and exposed to fatal diseases" and that it is shameful the missions have been converted into "tourist attractions."

Built in 1791, the Neary-Rodriguez Adobe is the oldest building in Santa Cruz County, and it is also one of the oldest Spanish military structures in the state.

After leaving the mission, demonstrators marched down Highway 1 from Mission Street to Ocean Street. The group blocked traffic at the entrance to the city, and then again several blocks away at Water Street, before returning to the Town Clock where the march began.

The Neary-Rodriguez Adobe

A Bare Pole Remains where the Mission Bell was Displayed 

Photo of Removed Mission Bell Posted to Social Media

Thousands March by the Coast in Santa Cruz for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter

On June 3, thousands in Santa Cruz again took to the streets in support of Black Lives Matter and justice for George Floyd.

Marchers filled West Cliff Drive between the Dream Inn hotel and the Lighthouse, and people were still marching towards the Lighthouse an hour after the demonstration began.