The Killing of Gaza

Photo retrieved from: Killinggaza.com

Written by a Fall 2018 intern at SJPJC: DO

On September 13, I attended a screening on the film Killing Gaza at the San Jose Peace and Justice Center. Prior to watching the film, I did no have knowledge about the violence and essentially genocide that is occurring within the Gaza strip. While watching the documentary, one cannot help but feel disgusted for the atrocities the Palestinian people have had to live through. the demolition of the Palestinian people is being ignored on an international scale due to the lack of media coverage it receives. The people of Gaza are living in rubble as a result of the constant air strikes. What justifies the killing of innocent people? The Israeli forces have engaged in countless human rights violations including: the right to life and liberty and freedom from torture.

Syria is not the only country that is currently experiencing displacement due to war and violence, but as well as the citizens of Gaza. I urge others to watch this documentary or research further information about the conflict between the people living in Gaza and the Israelis because they are in need of humanitarian assistance. If you would like to learn additional information about the issues please visit this website: https://bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds


Cruel and Unusual Punishment at the Southern Border

This blog was written by Ivan, an Fall 2018 intern at our Center.

Earlier this year in April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will enact a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. This decision was made in response to a report from the Department of Homeland Security that showed an increase in illegal border crossings from March 2017 to March 2018. In spite of the Trump Administration and Session’s constant rhetoric of “keeping families at the border together,” new reports indicate that from May to June more than 2,500 children were separated from their parents following Session’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. Many children remain caged in detention, shelters, and foster care unaware of their fate. Recently, in September, migrant children in Tornillo, Texas were moved to another detention facility in the middle of the night.

To make matters worse, the Trump Administration just declared that deported parents can lose custody of their children to foster parents, according to an investigation by the Associated Press (AP). According to the AP, there is a disconnect between state and federal authorities that could allow state judges to grant custody of children to foster families without even notifying the parents. One has to ask, is this constitutional? What happened to “we’re going to keep families together?” Undoubtedly, Trump’s immigration policy has resulted in a humanitarian crisis coupled with a series of constitutional violations, including forcing parents to sign waivers agreeing to leave their children behind. At this pace, undocumented children will be used as slave workers, all legal under constitutional law it seems.


Protest Trump’s Escalation in Syria

This blog was written by Nikki, an Office Team Intern with the San Jose Peace & Justice Center. The opinions expressed in this post are hers. The photos were taken at the protest by Nikki.

On April 7th, I attended a nationally coordinated protest locally hosted by Rise Up for Justice (#RU4J) and the Friday Night Peace Vigil. We protested Trump’s escalation in Syria to demand an end to the U.S. war against Syria. This escalation was an immediate action after the chemical attack that killed 89 people on April 4, 2017. Syria blamed terrorist groups for the attack, and Russian President Putin, implied that the forces that have been trying to frame the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the attack. The attack in Syria prompted the United States to launch its first military strike on the Syrian regime. President Trump ordered the launch of 59 missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that allegedly carried out the chemical attacks.

It has been unclear who was responsible for the chemical attack in Syria. It has been difficult for me to choose where I stand with this issue. It breaks my heart every time I read or see what is happening in Syria. I cannot imagine what they are going through each day and night, never knowing where the next bomb will hit, people have been living in constant stress and fear. I think in some parts of the world, in some situations, it is justified for the U.S. to interfere if human rights laws are being broken and innocent people are being killed. If nobody takes an action and help these innocent people, then who will? However, I also understand that the U.S. shouldn’t be policing the world. I think there should be a line that the U.S. should not cross.

I am unsure whether or not I support this strike. I am happy that the government finally took an action against the Syrian regime. However, I do not support Trump’s sudden response to strike against a regime without actual proof that the chemical attack was done by the Syrian regime. Also, bombing a Syrian air based to send a message to the Assad regime is just not enough. Less than a day after the U.S. strike, new airstrikes targeted the same town. It has been unclear who was responsible for the second attack. At least one woman was killed and three others were injured.

While attending the protest, I saw many people holding signs and standing in front of the MLK library. Although I was unsure about how I felt about this strike, I also felt it was not the right action to take. I knew that the strike would cause people to either be for it, against it, or like me, be unsure. Being at the protest, it made me feel great. I loved the energy and seeing how many people were there to protest against the strike while holding signs and just peacefully protesting. Many people honked their horns as they drove passed us.



Immigration Training Cements Intern’s Interest – by GM

This blog was written by GM, a spring 2017 intern at San Jose Peace and Justice Center after attending Immigration in the era of Trump training.

Before becoming a student at San Jose State University, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. Over the course of my academic career I was a Marketing major, then I changed it to Administration of Justice, then to History and finally to a Justice Studies major.

My indecisiveness was due me desire to do something special and be effective in helping and changing lives. Choosing Justice Studies as my major was the best choice for me because I got to learn about the many aspects of how laws and policies can have a huge impact in creating injustices for many citizens, specifically minorities.

My major created the opportunity for me to find this internship that relates with what I want to accomplish. Michelle Cordova, the coordinator for the Immigration Relief Project at the Peace and Justice Center, initiated the training process for immigrants’ rights. As I attended the first day of the training as an intern, I saw many individuals willing to sacrifice their time and energy to help those in need. These volunteers were especially eager to help given current social and political crisis that plagues many immigrants. Ms. Cordova told us that don’t worry about making mistakes because we will learn from it and that she wants willing people that learn from those mistakes.

The first day of the training explained the different roles the volunteers will have. There are six roles that she listed which are: Office & Administration; Consulates; Public Relations; Event Organizers; Design & Communications; and Coordination Team. The training also consisted of the background of the current issues around immigration in the Trump era. She gave us examples like that the majority of immigrants are falsely perceived to be Mexican, however; she showed that many people come from South America. What was really troubling to hear is that the immigrants deported from South America are sent to Mexico even though Mexico isn’t their country of origin to begin with. She showed that there is clear discrimination of immigrants and people fail to realize that immigrants offer many contributions to the American Economy.

Ms. Cordova’s first training session was really informative with the issues regarding the current political climate. She also went over issues with the dangers of border crossing and Homeland Security Priority Enforcement Programs. The issues that she covered cemented the reasons why the volunteers were there in the first place. The issues she presented created a need for urgent action and the volunteers showed their humanity in answering that call to action.


SJPD Crush Youth Protest on J20 by Sharat G. Lin

3_sjpdThree mass actions of nonviolent resistance to newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump in San José, California brought about very different police responses. The Riseup for Justice march on January 20, 2017 (nearly a thousand participants) and the Women’s March on January 21, 2017 (estimated at 30,000) proceeded completely peacefully. However, the Disrupt J20 march by youths on January 20 (fifty participants) was met without warning by brutal police force resulting in three arrests and dispersal of the crowd.

Beginning after dark at 7 pm at San José City Hall, then marching into traffic on Santa Clara Street, San José Police on motorcycles initially moved to block traffic to ensure the safety of the protesters. But after the protesters moved to San Fernando Street, San José Police turned on their motorcycle sirens and drove directly into the marchers. This came without prior warning to get out of the street and move onto the sidewalk. Only after two march participants were arrested did police announce that marchers must stay on the sidewalk or be subject to being charged for blocking traffic. By that time, all protesters were already on the sidewalk. A bicyclist who was participating in the march was also arrested without provocation while fully within a marked bicycle lane.

After the arrests, police continued in hot pursuit of the protesters until the entire march was dispersed.

See the youtube video.


Super Bowl 50: Super Militarization and Super Inequality by Sharat G. Lin


The most expensive single sports game on Earth kicked off under unprecedented militarization of the police and the highest levels of inequality since the Great Depression.

As the biggest sporting game in the United States, thousands of law enforcement and security personnel from nearly every conceivable agency have converged on Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California for Super Bowl 50. But the outfits, weapons, vehicles, and communications equipment are increasingly those of the military.

Santa Clara Police were seen dressed in military camouflage and army helmets as if prepared for urban warfare. They were riding around in new all-terrain vehicles purchased especially for the Super Bowl. Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies wore new green uniforms. A dozen bomb squad units, including units from other counties, were gathered near Levi’s Stadium.

Army humvees were everywhere — guarding rear access to Levi’s Stadium and its parking structure and patrolling the streets. Military police were present with M-16 submachine guns. Army helicopters flew overhead with soldiers ready to jump on a moment’s notice.

Federal law enforcement agencies had set up temporary communications towers in the vicinity of Levi’s Stadium, and a command center nearby.

While a major police presence is not surprising considering the magnitude of the crowds and the intense national visibility of Super Bowl 50, one wonders against whom the police, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon are apparently preparing for urban warfare?

The 50th Super Bowl in Levi’s Stadium is the easily the single most expensive event to come to Silicon Valley. With an economic impact conservatively estimated at over a billion dollars and game tickets reselling for $4800, Super Bowl 50 stands in contrast to the record numbers of homeless people in the San Francisco Bay Area, unprecedented student debt, continuing cutbacks in public education, and rising socio-economic inequality.

“Super inequality” was the target of protests near Levi’s Stadium and in downtown San José, where demonstrators chanted that “the Super Bowl’s pockets are lined with gold.” Marching around Super Bowl festivities in Plaza de César Chávez, they called for some of the money to be used to solve the homeless crisis and to address poverty and urgent social issues.



SJPJC Interns for 2015!

patrice head shot bio sjpjc

  Hi, I am Patrice! I am currently taking a break from Sonoma State University from majoring in Political science. I was born in San Jose, but have lived in many places including Sacramento, Maryland and South Korea. I would like to help my community and work on the Latin FilmSeries while I am working at the Peace and Justice Center. I have worked with Rotaract Club of Silicon Valley in the past. In my free time, I like to sew and watch Anime. 

Headshot for sjpjc

Hi, I’m K. Austria! I am from a small island in Washington known as Whidbey Island, and I’m a freshman at San Jose State University.  I’m majoring in journalism, with a minor in human rights studies. I have a passion for social justice, especially issues surrounding people of color and the LGBTQ community.  I am also currently involved with SJSU Q&A. I am excited to learn more about the activist community in San Jose while working at the Peace and Justice Center.  In my spare time I indulge in spoken word poetry, and art history.



From the Streets to the Grave holds candle lit vigil

By K. Austria

Last Saturday, November 14th, a candle light vigil was held in front of San Jose City Hall to commemorate the lives lost in acts of violence.  The vigil did not only pay tribute to victims of violence, but also the families of these victims who were mourning the loss of their loved ones.  The event was put together by Elsa Lopez, the founder of the organization “From the Streets to the Grave”.  During the vigil, Lopez as well as many others shared the names and stories of the loved ones they had lost.  “This vigil is not just for those who have lost someone due to acts of violence.  The holidays are coming up and that’s a very difficult time for families who have lost loved ones, whether it’s from violence, illness, or any other means.”  There were also a variety of hymns sung throughout the vigil, in both Spanish and English.

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Ground the SJPD Drone!

The SJPD Drone – Return It and Get Our Money Back!

Last November the San Jose City Council authorized the purchase of an $8K drone for the Police Department.  This budget item was slipped into the consent calendar and we the people never got a chance to debate whether we want these intrusive spy cameras hovering over our neighborhoods.

San Jose wants to be the first Bay Area city to deploy one of these sneaky toys. The first because San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo counties had to drop the idea when the people mobilized to oppose them.

Money for the drone came from the Department of Homeland Security, which is busy militarizing local police departments by providing them with high tech surveillance equipment. SJPD says that the drone will be used by the bomb squad but the ACLU of Northern CA (which has done a great job exposing this issue) says that without any guidelines or oversight, “mission creep” is bound to happen.

We say – send back the drone!  Get our money back and use it to fix potholes!

What do you think?  Let us know your views on the drone.


DIRT! The Movie

SJPJC Events and Programming Intern Patrice Halcrombe

Over humanity’s long history, we have lost our connection with dirt and doing so, we are destroying the very thing that gives us life. Dirt the Movie explores humanity’s connection with dirt and how to restore our connection back with dirt. The documentary is based on the book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of Earth written by Bill Logan.  The film showcases many people who are helping to repair dirt. One of the people is Nobel peace prize winner, Professor Maathai who stated a tree planting initiative that later became the Green Belt Movement and assisted in planting more than 20 million trees in Africa.

The documentary made me stop and think about how dependent we are on the things we consider small like dirt and how removed we are from the things that are keeping us alive.  The more I watched the documentary the more I realized that I have been taking dirt for granted. It is a really weird feeling when something I consider insignificant to have played a huge role in my life. Dirt is life. It grows our forests, it is where we build our home and our cities, and most important, it grows our food. Without dirt we could not survive.

Sponsored by Economic Justice Film Series and Veterans for Peace
San Jose Peace and Justice Center| October 20,th 2015

More info…