Toma Las Calles is a movement that translates to “Take the Streets”, promoting equal opportunity, access to education, and economic justice for the youth of our community here in Santa Barbara. On Sunday, January 8, many activists and youth, including myself, met at the Courthouse at 2 pm. We hung a banner from the top of the courthouse that read “Toma las Calles, Take the Streets”. Why do this now? What triggered the movement? In 2007, Luis Angel Linares was stabbed in a gang fight, and bled to death in the back parking lot of Saks Fifth Avenue. For this reason, we marched and shouted chants such as “Toma Las Calles” and “There ain’t no power like the power of the people cause the power of the people don’t stop”. We marched until we reached Saks Fifth Avenue, where we were planning to have a General Assembly in the back parking lot,where the death of Luis took place. Unfortunately, we were not permitted in the parking lot, or the store for that matter. There were cops all around us and they told us that if we entered the store, we would be arrested. We resorted to sitting in front of the store, and having our discussion there. We talked about how The Santa Barbara Police Department didn’t try to do much about gangs in Santa Barbara, until this event occurred. Once the gang violence left the eastside and westside, and moved into a public place, it got more publicity. Ever since then, The Santa Barbara Police Department has been unfairly racially profiling latinos in Santa Barbara. If a latino that lives on the east or west side gets in trouble with the law, they are automatically placed on a list of people who are supposivley “In a gang”. There are over 600 names on this list that the Police Department refuses to release to the public. In my eyes, this perpetuates negative stereotypes and racism. As it was stated in the Santa Barbara Independent, we “hoped to exhibit united white and Latino Opposition to the injunction.” The cops there were assholes and they kept trying to tell us we were in the way when we were in the way and telling us to move, when we weren’t in anyones way. He also kept saying “Just cooperate with me here sweetheart” and that was really irritating. Besides the sucky cops, it was a great discussion. We talked about the inequalities in our community and school system, and why it is that it seems to be that there are primarily only white students in the AP and honors classes. We planned to do a school “walk in” where people in the community, as well as students, walk into the Public Schools and have a discussion, on campus, about the gang injunction as well as racially profiling in the School System. We are still planning, and I will give you all an update later on about when and where it is going to take place! This movement matters to me because I believe in racial equality! It would be great if all of you could join us in this movement. I believe that if we do all we can in our power to fight for equality, we are making a difference. Our generation is the generation that can change things, and open peoples minds! We have the power to make a difference.