On September 29, 1999, dozens of C-Beyond members went out in force
to expose Hilton and Chevron for funding Prop 21 put on the March 2000
ballot by Pete Wilson. The goal of the protest was to present the CEO's
of Hilton and Chevron with a brick that symbolized the prisons they
were helping to build by giving money to Prop 21 and to demand from
the CEO's that they not fund Prop 21 and that they come out publicly
Former Governor Wilson has a history of supporting ballot initiatives
that attack the poor, immigrant, youth, women and people of color of
California. Prop 21: The Gang Violence and Youth Crime Prevention Act
has nothing to do with prevention. It's only purpose is to criminalize,
stereotype and lock up youth. Instead of Prop 21, C-Beyond wants something
that gives money to our education, helps us get a youth center in Concord
and guarantees us a future.
C-Beyond decided to fight against Prop 21 because we think that locking
up youth is not the answer to stopping crime in our society. Before
we protested Chevron and Hilton for funding Prop 21 we did a lot of
research. Both companies gave money to this proposition as a political
favor to Wilson. It seems that sometime while Wilson was in office he
cut these companies some special deal so they're returning the favor
by funding his Prop 21.
Chevron also hires prison slave labor to do data entry for them. Under
the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, slavery is still legal "as
a punishment for a crime." Companies like Chevron, Gap, Old Navy, Victoria's
Secret, and Toys R Us hire prisoners and only pay them pennies a day.
Prop 21, if passed, will send more youth to adult prisons, which means
more slaves for companies to exploit.
We started off our protest with a moment of silence in recognition
of the 1.8 million men, women, and children currently in prison. We
passed out fact sheets to people in cars or walking by to let them know
why we were there. Some people made protest signs; other people were
busy chanting and getting cars to honk. We marched down Diamond Boulevard
chanting, "Hilton's Guilty! Chevron's Filthy!" and holding up our signs.
Our first target was the Chevron offices. Since Ken Derr, the CEO of
Chevron, doesn't kick it in Concord we brought his number and a cell
phone so we could call him and let him know what our demands to him
were. We presented a prison brick to the Chevron representative and
presented him our demands. Chevron accepted the demands and agreed that
they would no longer fund Prop 21! Next, C-Beyond marched across the
street to Hilton, chanting and holding signs. By the time we got to
the Hilton they had already locked their doors. The manager would not
come outside to talk to us so we handed the brick and the demands to
After the march we headed back to the Denny's on the corner of Willow
Pass and Diamond. To end our protest, we had a moment of noise to symbolize
the noise we aren't going to stop making until every single one of our
family, community members and friends knows about Prop 21 and knows
about how much it will hurt the young people of California.
C-Beyond's No On 21 Campaign is still going strong. We have
more actions planned on more funders, and we're still trying to get
a Concord Youth-Run Center. This campaign is not just about getting
rid of Prop 21, it's about unifying the youth for the long term so we
don't hafta fight off these adultist, racist attacks. This campaign
is about us youth creating a community and a society that we want to
grow up and live in.
Although Proposition 21 passed in March 2000, C-Beyond and the other
organizations that led the campaign against Prop 21 have been widely
recognized for their efforts to defeat the initiative and for building
a strong youth movement in the Bay Area.
© 2000 by Individual Authors