Santa Cruz activist and podcast host Thomas Sage Pedersen
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Sunday Reads: Thomas Sage Pedersen and Santa Cruz’s Black renaissance; Pizza My Heart goes to Washington

How Thomas Sage Pedersen found himself at the center of a burgeoning Black renaissance in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz activist and podcaster Thomas Sage Pedersen
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Thomas Sage Pedersen’s journey has taken him from growing up in a white family in Hollister to the life of a Santa Cruz street musician and now a guiding voice in a local Black community that’s vibrating with exploration of arts, culture, philosophy and more. “This place is primed for this,” the organizer-podcaster-entrepreneur says of the momentum propelling a renaissance. Read more in Wallace Baine’s Sunday column.

MORE FROM WALLACE: Find all of his recent work here

I’m just a pizza guy, but I got to go to the State of the Union: Here’s what happened

Pizza My Heart owner Chuck Hammers in Washington's halls of power ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union address.
(Via Chuck Hammers)

Chuck Hammers, owner of Pizza My Heart, got an inside view of our government last week, when he sat near Jill Biden, Bono and the parents of Tyre Nichols during the State of the Union address Tuesday. Hammers’ Capitola Village restaurant sustained close to $500,000 in damages during the January storms, and he and other restaurants had visits from Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Jimmy Panetta and even President Joe Biden. In a Community Voices opinion piece, he gives us a peek into the “room where it happens” and his personal “Where’s Bernie” moment. Read it here.

ICONS OF SANTA CRUZ: Pizza My Heart’s popular T-shirts are the most affordable way to represent local pride

‘One more step toward healing’: Scotts Valley High community commemorates suicide death of Mateo Deihl

Mateo Deihl's nephew Jackson at the tree Mateo's friends dedicated to him in the middle of the Scotts Valley High campus
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

One year ago, a 15-year-old freshman who exuded universal kindness took his own life. His parents say they detailed in multiple letters to the Scotts Valley Unified School District, over many months, incidents of harassment, discrimination and bullying at the middle and high schools. Those who attended the celebration of Mateo Deihl say they’re hopeful that an increase in kindness and acceptance in a community that has struggled with those virtues will be his legacy. Mark Conley reports.

FROM LAST SUMMER: ‘I’m the one who had to bury my son’: Scotts Valley mom fights for change in wake of bullied child’s suicide

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