FRESH DIRT > Occupy Santa Cruz protestors rally for national and local causes
A man dressed up like a Wall Street banker, wearing a wrinkled button down shirt, khakis and sneakers, wheels a speaker system out of a car parked in front of the Santa Cruz Courthouse.
Someone else speaks into a megaphone, “Alright everyone, let’s march!”
The gathering was a “Corporate Ball” themed march organized by the Occupy Santa Cruz protestors on Wednesday, Oct. 12. About 75 participants marched through Downtown Santa Cruz, blasting music and chanting in unison as they stopped at the three major bank branches in the area—Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.
The Occupy Santa Cruz protestors first gathered one week ago in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Both groups hope for increased taxes on corporations and the wealthy, greater scrutiny on large banks, and higher wages for the average American worker.
“I think we’re on the same page, completely,” says Susan Worth, 51.
But some of the Santa Cruz protestors also have local demands on their minds—such as overturning the city’s sleeping ban.
“Fundamentally, I think [the movements] are the same,” says Sita Jones, a 22-year-old massage therapist. “But what a lot of us are trying to do, for Santa Cruz, is to get rid of the sleeping ban to help out the homeless a little bit more.”
The Santa Cruz sleeping ban prohibits people from sleeping outdoors and in cars between 11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. Violators, who are largely members of Santa Cruz’s homeless population, can be issued tickets or receive a misdemeanor charge.
“I got five tickets in one week,” says Lawrence McGregor, 40. “I hope the changes that are happening now might help the homeless more. We have a lot of street people here and the cops just want to give us tickets every time.”
Occupy Santa Cruz will hold a “Rally for Global Change” on Saturday, Oct. 15, in conjunction with protests in more than 950 different cities. Protestors will meet at noon at the Santa Cruz Courthouse and a march will begin at 2:30 p.m.
Photos by Irena Eaves (top) and Keana Parker (bottom).