Flores Juan - Cop Takes Money Borderless

Cop Takes Money from Street Vendor, Internet Cries Foul

Solidarity and Justice for all.

This past Saturday, a hot dog vendor was serving folks at a UC Berkeley game when things got strange.

A UC police officer passing students and alumni drinking alcohol on campus (which is technically illegal) approached the vendor, Juan, and wrote him a ticket for selling food without a license. What happened next is what many people from both the left and the right see as crossing the line.

Martin Flores – a Cal alumni who was buying hot dogs for his family – sensed that something wasn’t quite right when the officer asked for Juan’s wallet, so he started recording with his phone. Officer S. Aranas inspected Juan’s wallet before taking his cash, much to the surprise of the vendor. Flores, who speaks both English and Spanish, piped up:

“That’s not right. People can drink on campus at football games and (get) no tickets, but a hard working man selling hot dogs earning a living gets his money taken away and a ticket? Law and order for the few, that ain’t right, man.”


 

The confiscation of money is called ‘civil forfeiture’ which the ACLU says has been widely misused. One recent study shows that implicit bias is a big issue in law enforcement. (If you’re curious about implicit biases, a Harvard initiative called Project Implicit made this test to try to better illustrate the idea.)

These are a couple of many reasons the video was upsetting to see. It wasn’t necessarily the citation Flores (and those who saw the video) took issue with, it was the targeting of a minority trying to earn a living while other illegal, more dangerous activities were occurring nearby.

He’s right – no matter one’s background or political views, they deserve equal opportunity and justice, and that’s not what happened that day.

But, thanks to Flores’ video, a cascade of support has been pouring in from all over the country. By Monday the video had more than 11 million views.

There’s a petition calling for the officer (who has a history of abuse of power) to be removed from duty as well as a GoFundMe with a goal of $10,000 to cover Juan’s legal expenses and personal losses. It’s already exceeded $56,000. Flores says this is enough to host an event to connect vendors with community resources and bring to fruition Juan’s life dream of owning his own food truck.

If you see something, say something. Or at least hit record.

Movement Art Borderless

‘Movement Art Is’ Believes Performance is the Antidote for Anger

These two guys are dancing their way into a more inclusive world.

Movement Art Is (MAI) knows that performance art is a universal language that connects folks on a plane beyond geography, origin, or background. This organization—founded by two guys who’ve been dancing since they were small—pushes the boundaries of what performance can be through classes, performances, films, and exhibitions. They call it ‘resetting the spectrum of what dance can be’, integrating educational and social impact into their movement.

MAI Co-founders Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, who have collective experience working with the likes of Madonna and the TriBeCa film festival, believe their art form is an important method of promoting empathy and starting difficult conversations.

“The whole premise behind Movement Art Is is to use dance to inspire positive change in the world,” says Boogz. “We really believe dance is not just entertainment—we believe it is a tool to break down social-economic boundaries.”

 

 

For them, dance is not only about technical mastery, it’s also about true artistic expression.

“The power of dance—what it can do, how it can unify us… it can be a tool that helps to change the world. A lot of the time when people see our work, even if you’re not a fan of dance you can relate to the narrative, the story, the message, the social issue that we’re trying to address,” says Boogz.

Boogz and Lil Buck travel the world to spread their message, including a TED performance called Honor Thy Mother—a multimedia piece in homage to our Earth—and the performance of a piece a few feet away from the US-Mexico border.

“When you have talent it becomes more than just a gift, it becomes a responsibility,” Lil Buck told Splinter News.

 

 

Feature image: Alexa Meade Art Youtube.

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