FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/19/2014
UCB Administration Interferes with NO on Prop 1 Event;
Students struggle to bring the Beehive Collective to Berkeley
Press Contact: Paula Jaramillo, (510) 730-9598, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students for Engaged and Active Learning (SEAL), sealstudents.wordpress.com
Berkeley: Students at the University of California, Berkeley will be bringing the Beehive Collective’s art project on drought and Prop 1 to Sproul Plaza this Tuesday after it was shut down by an administrator with clear political motivations. The event highlights the privatization of water across Mesoamerica and the potential for water privatization in CA under Prop 1, and was originally scheduled as an event at the Gill Tract Community Farm. This community farm was won through Occupy the Farm’s acts of civil disobedience protesting the privatization of this land, and is now the site of a partnership project between the community and the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley.
The event was shut down with a week’s notice by Steve Lindow, the first researcher to do field trials of a Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs), who is now the Executive Associate Dean in the College of Natural Resources. Lindow claimed that the art show was “not relevant to the research at the community farm”, despite clear connections between the Beehive Collective’s work on drought and industrial agriculture. Prop 1 has been criticized as a sweet-heart bill for water-intensive industrial agriculture. The event had been approved with strong support from community members, students, and the farm’s events working group. This was the first interference in farm events from the administration, and students feel that it is a clear example of repression against free speech on campus, with political motivation.
Despite political repression, students will be bringing this event to their classmates by hosting the Beehive Collective on the Sproul steps, where 50 years ago students demonstrated for their right to disseminate political materials. This Tuesday, from 2-5pm, the Beehive Collective will be showing their art and informally telling the stories of their pieces, so that all students have this educational opportunity. This event is supported by Students for Engaged and Active Learning, Fossil Free Cal, and Students Against Fracking. The event at the Gill Tract had also received the support of Food and Water Watch, which has endorsed NO on Prop 1.
Facebook event: http://bit.ly/BeehiveAtUCB
More about the Beehive Collective “Sucked Dry” Storytelling:
California is in the midst of a historical drought, the most severe the region has had in the last 500 years. This water crisis has devastated resources, with several communities facing the prospect of running dry. A number of projects advocating infrastructure development such as the BDCP and Prop 1 have been proposed as solutions for the state, but are they truly in the interests for all? What are their impacts to our drying rivers and reservoirs? Fisheries and communities? Drawing inspiration from struggles against large-scale infrastructure projects throughout MesoAmerica, the Beehive collective’s larger than life art pieces are engaging lessons in political education. This informal storytelling event will guide students on a visual journey touching on the local and the global struggle for control and protection of water.
o Sakura Saunders, Beehive Collective Member:
“The Beehive Collective, named after an important pollinator, is of absolute relevance to the research of the Gill Tract Community Farm. The Beehive Collective, which has a long history of creating art work that represents the negative ecological impacts of GMO crops and monocultures, was set to present on a topic relevant to all farmers within California: water. Specifically, the group aimed to bring a critical perspective on a water infrastructure bond, Prop. 1, which will appear on Californian’s ballots in the upcoming election. It is a shame that this timely and politically-relevant talk could not go forward as scheduled, even after posters were distributed listing the Gill Tract Farm as the venue.”