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August 2-9, 2006

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Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

Peace Work

Big guys with shaved heads and tattoos held hands with little kids, old white ladies and beautiful women wearing huge feather headdresses last Saturday at Laurel Park, next to Santa Cruz's Louden Nelson Center. The dance, begun in a circle, and led by the White Hawk Dancers of Watsonville, culminated the march against crime co-hosted by Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos and the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

The march and festivities in the park were organized with support from community churches, organizations and individuals in response to the recent cluster of high-profile crimes in Santa Cruz, which caused many residents concern.

One message carried to the public during the march was the necessity of providing alternative solutions to violence other than incarceration.

Jenn Laskin, high school teacher and member of the Brown Berets, says one option could be as simple as checking in regularly with neighbors, and finding ways for people of one section of the community to visit other parts of the community.

Others brought attention to the role of economic disparity in violence, chanting "Jobs not jails"on the march. Scott Kennedy, representative for the Resource Center for Nonviolence, offered up a quote from Martin Luther King JR.: Any nation that spends more money on military than on social uplift is a nation that faces spiritual doom. King, said Kennedy, is "describing the United States of America."

While responding to violence on a local level, Barrios Unidos also networks with other nations, including the ambassador for Venezuela, to address violence on an international level.

Two hundred people holding hands on a Saturday afternoon will not be the end of violence, but at least Santa Cruzans aren't afraid to start somewhere, and they're not afraid to look goofy doing it.

Another upcoming peace demonstration will be held Friday, Aug. 4, to denounce Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Palestine. Peace advocates will gather across the street from the Santa Cruz Clock Tower from 5 to 6pm, hosted by Students Against War, the International Socialist Organization and ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and Racism).

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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