The action that spurred this case took place at 75 River St. in downtown Santa Cruz, in a building that had been sitting vacant and unused for years. At the end of November 2011 the building was occupied with the intention of transforming it into a community resource center.
This website tells some of the story of 75 River. The building was vacated peacefully and voluntarily and remains empty today.
It is extremely important to remember that while the defendants have been charged with the actions of this occupation they are not responsible for it. 75 River was occupied spontaneously by hundreds of people. While the courts espouse the mantra “innocent until proven guilty” it is plain to anyone who spends time in the courtroom that this is not the case. It is also a sad truth that this actually mirrors the public. Often just by publicizing accusations in the media people begin to associate the accused with the crime. This is what the City and District Attorney want.
Let us remember to be careful about how we talk about this case, the defendants and 75 River. And let us also remember to celebrate the beauty of what took place that November: hundreds of people, many strangers to each other, stepped across the line of the ‘ordinary’ and tried to create something new, something better, for us all.