.Hundreds Of People Packed Meetings Calling For Ceasefire

Hundreds of people packed city and county meetings calling for ceasefire resolution in the Israel-Hamas conflict

Hundreds of people packed city and county meeting chambers throughout the day on Tuesday to ask local elected leaders to pass resolutions demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict. The action resulted in the Santa Cruz City Council creating a special meeting to discuss passing a ceasefire resolution, meanwhile the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors struck down a similar motion. 

Watsonville declined to discuss the topic. After dozens of people asked them to schedule a special meeting later in December.

At the Santa Cruz City Council meeting, more than 150 people spoke out in favor of a ceasefire during a public comment session that lasted nearly three hours. Many called for a resolution similar to the one passed unanimously by the Oakland City Council in late November, which calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The resolution also demands the release of all hostages, unrestricted entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the restoration of critical infrastructure, as well as respect for international law.

Santa Cruz Councilmember Sandy Brown presented a motion to call for a special meeting in December where the council will discuss a resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire using the Oakland resolution as a model. 

Councilmember Sonja Brunner seconded the motion. 

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The motion passed, with Councilmembers Brown, Sonja Brunner, Martine Watkins, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Mayor Fred Keeley voted in favor of the motion and Councilmembers Renee Golder and Scott Newsome voted against the motion.

Earlier in the day, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors rejected a motion to draft a resolution  to the violent conflict.

The item, which was placed in the consent agenda, failed in a 3-2 vote. Board Chair Zach Friend explained that the supervisors should be cautious about anyone who may be unintentionally hurt by taking a stand on the contentious issue.

“As a Board that prides itself on inclusivity and tolerance, there seemed to be no path toward achieving those values on this issue—for many in our community—if we adopted the resolution,” he said in an email.

The same day, outside the Watsonville City Council chambers, Capitola resident Erix Celis said he hopes to “start saving lives” by asking elected leaders to take a stand.

Celis identified himself as a Guatemalan.

“My grander vision is collective liberation,” he said.  “A lot of our struggles are connected. We are deeply impacted by the United States and its influence all over the world, and as a resident of the United States, I’m encouraging (the city council) to use their power so we can stop the killing abroad.”

Watsonville resident Irene Juarez-O’Connell, an organizer for Palestine Solidarity Central Coast said that the speakers had a measure of success when the Santa Cruz City Council agreed to hold a special meeting to consider a ceasefire resolution.  

“We can see unfolding before our eyes the atrocities happening, and we know that this is our tax dollars supporting this,” she said. 

“We feel that there are council members currently who are parents who have families who can understand this perspective, just standing up for the right thing, just staying ‘ceasefire’ and ‘stop the violence,’” Juarez-O’Connell said. “That’s at the end of the day what we’re asking for, so that there can be a just and peaceful solution for Palestinians and Israelis.”


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Aiyana Moya
News Editor
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