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Derek McMillan

Jack London Oak

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I got this message today. I do not live in America and cannot verify

all the details. However it seems a bitter irony that people should

seek to protect an oak tree planted in memory of a one-time tramp and

socialist....from homeless people and people seeking social justice!

>Dear Fans of Jack London Everywhere

>

>People

>

>Tonight, with a plea from the bottom of my heart, as one of Jack London's

>great grand daughters -who usually shies away from the role for personal

>reasons: I appeal to your basic humanity - please step forward and give

>whatever support you can muster *right now* to the good

>people who are on a hunger strike for social justice, equity and

>education shelteringbeneath the Jack London Oak Tree

>at 14th & Broadway in Oakland. They are there, sheltering in place,

>beneath the Jack London oak tree (see below) because their

>basic rights to protest are threatened. Their basic rights under the

>first amendmendent of the constitution of the United States of the

>people to peaceably assemble is again threatened. Their protective

>equipment (sun shade etc) has been confiscated by the police, so

>logically, they have taken shelter under a tree.

>In spite

>of promises by Oakland City Council Members, they have been harrassed by

>the Oakland Police Department and tommorrow they are threatened with

>being fenced or evicted or whatever to save the "sacred tree". The sacred

>tree was planted in honor of my great grandfather, Jack London in

>1917, a year after his death(see below). I will be there starting

>at 6 am tommorrow to say that Jack L ondon would have supported this

>heroic effort and more. There will be a community support rally Saturday

>(5/15/04 at 11 am, I will be there then too, as soon as I can.

>Please someone get the press there?

>

>The harrassment of Cesar Cruz & the March4education.org folks by the

>Oakland police is certainly reminiscent of my town's (RICHMOND)

>"anti-camping" ordinance which begs to be repealed. It is reminsicent

>of one of Jack London's pivotal political

>turning point when after deserting from Coxy's Army of the Unemployed,

>he went bumming, got educated by radical "bums" (unemployed"), was

>arrested for vagrancy, denied the right to self representation by a

>judge, sent to the penitetiary for 30 days where he witnessed horrific

>brutatlity against a black inmate. Oakland police department's

>confiscation of portable toilets (paid for in advance), sun/wind shade

>equipment , right to sleep in the public park etc. is just the same old

>"bum's rush" that <bold>Jack London</bold> was given when he was on the

>road. Cesar Cruz and the other hunger strikers are making this sacrifice

>to <bold>save the education of the children of Richmond whose education

>is compromised by budget cuts</bold> (www.March4education.org for

>details). They marched on foot 70 miles (including 4th graders through

>adults) from Richmond to Sacramento, during the spring break, where

>they were denied audience with Governor Schwartnegger, who at the same

>time, purportedly , met with school children from an affluent distrcit

>

>I am a librarian at the City of Richmond Public Library where half of the

> library staff is laid off effective tommorrow(5/14/04). We will go from

>a proud and healthy 58 open hours a week to a paltry 24 hours a week

>(branches closed) starting Monday May 17, 2004. <bold>A light goes out

>in Richmond. Don't let it be permanent. The cities and counties of

>California are being fiscally raped by the state, Richmond is simply in

>the forefront, we are all being raped by the cost of the war in Iraq.

>The physical abuse of the people of Iraq is being paid for by us. Our

>financial ruin is paying for this outrage, We must stand and say NO MORE

>to this war. Eating our children is not acceptable.

>

>JL Oak tree history :

>

>

></bold>THEY are survivors, every one. They have eluded the ravages of

>time, the forces of nature and the wrecking ball of mankind. They have

>stood and watched as history traipsed beneath their branches, from the

>quests of early explorers to the high jinks of turn-of-the-century

>college students. Some have endured battle scars still visible on their

>trunks; others even bear the last remains of their owners. In honor of

>Arbor Day, an annual holiday dedicated to the planting of new trees, we

>offer a salute to the historic Bay Area trees still standing right in our

>back yard, trees that have defied expections and inspired devotion.idents

>still like to post birthday and anniversary messages ... \

>

>Jack London Oak -- Oakland Dan Gallagher, Oakland's city arborist,

>bristles at the thought that the Jack London Oak might be an also-ran to

>the Danville Oak. "I'll put up our tree against their's any time," he

>shouts indignantly, in a call placed on his cell phone from beneath the

>oak tree in Oakland's City Hall Plaza. In 1917, the year after Jack

>London's death, the oak was dug up from Mosswood Park and replanted at

>its current location as a form of commemoration. When the plaza was built

>several years ago, there was extensive design work to preserve the tree,

>including a specialized drainage system and a concrete wall. This

>afternoon, Gallagher reports, Oakland's denizens are basking in the

>tree's shady ambience, strumming guitars or eating an afternoon snack. "I

>bet you don't see anybody sitting under the Danville Oak tree," he

>chortles, referring to the tree's location on a roadway median. And

>although it's not much of a boast because his tree is probably a couple

>of centuries younger, he is also confident the Oakland oak will be the

>last one standing. "I bet the Jack London Oak will outlive the Danville

>Oak," he says. "I'll bet my career on it."

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Update

The March4education website is back up and the story which it tells is remarkable.

http://www.March4education.org/

The state starves education of funds and parents go on hunger strike to support the teachers.

Read it.

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