Yefry Samael Mata Diaz is the new student trustee at Cabrillo College and a member of the Rising Scholars club.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Cabrillo’s path for formerly incarcerated, BLM mural vandalism reaction & brews news

Greetings, fellow humans. It’s Wednesday, Aug. 2, and it’s looking like a mild day around Santa Cruz County, with morning fog and even drizzle giving way to sun and 70s.

There’s plenty of local news on Lookout, and if you prefer the solo route to the guided tour, start here.
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Organizers who spearheaded the work to bring the Black Lives Matter mural to downtown Santa Cruz say they’re “heartbroken” at the latest incident of vandalism, Max Chun reports, and are pushing for hate crime charges even as they continue to advocate for a restorative justice approach.

At Cabrillo College, meanwhile, Hillary Ojeda talked to participants in and organizers of the Rising Scholars program, which helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated residents find their way to higher education. “I feel like I can help people not make the wrong choices that I made that led me down that wrong path,” says the man leading the program. “And this is the best way that I feel like I can come back, contribute, and really make a change and make things work.”

From downtown Santa Cruz, Lookout photojournalist Kevin Painchaud has this snapshot of another local institution revving up:

Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Cristian Măcelaru leads the orchestra.
Grammy Award-winning music director and conductor Cristian Măcelaru leads the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music orchestra through a rehearsal Monday at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium ahead of the start of the festival’s 61st season, which runs through Aug. 13. Open rehearsals, which are free to attend, run through Aug. 11. The festival is also honoring outgoing executive director Ellen Primack, who is retiring after 33 years.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Also on tap among the Wednesday headlines is the latest in Santa Cruz County food & drink news from Lily Belli, with one local brewery closing, another expanding again and a third hopping on the Otter 841 bandwagon. Prost!

In Cabrillo College’s Rising Scholars program, formerly incarcerated students find pathway to higher education

Donnie Veal, program coordinator for Rising Scholar, sitting on Cabrillo's stairwell
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Cabrillo College students are among the 20,000 incarcerated or formerly incarcerated students served by the Rising Scholars Network across California’s community college campuses, jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers. Led by Donnie Veal, who served 23 years behind bars before graduating this year from UC Santa Cruz, Cabrillo’s program “helped me build a bigger sense of community and establish in me a bigger sense of responsibility,” one student participant says. Read more from Hillary Ojeda.

COMMUNITY VOICES OPINION: I teach poetry in the Santa Cruz jail, but it’s ‘my guys’ who are teaching me

SC Equity Collab to push for hate crime charge, meet with city leaders after latest BLM mural vandalism

Paint splattered across the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Santa Cruz City Hall.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Following the second vandalism of the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Santa Cruz City Hall, SC Equity Collab co-founder Shandara Gill said the group continues to push for a restorative justice approach even as it advocates for a hate crime charge against the perpetrator. Max Chun reports.

PREVIOUSLY: SCPD treating BLM mural damage as intentional vandalism; surveillance footage shows person throwing paint


Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

Midtown Fridays @1111 Soquel Ave.
Embroidery Workshop @Wallflower Santa Cruz
Zayante Fire Fundraiser @Felton Music Hall
Stephen Marley @The Catalyst Club
Bodhi Mojo @Woodhouse Blending & Brewing
Frequency Festival @Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Santa Cruz Elks Oktoberfest @Santa Cruz Elks Lodge
Foodie Fruity Wreath Making Extravaganza @Scotts Valley farmers market
Vegan Italian Cooking & Wine Pairing Class @Flipjack Ranch
Teen Kitchen Project Everett Farm Dinner @Everett Family Farm
Echos Of Empire @Civic Auditorium

For the love of dogs @Chaminade Resort & Spa
41st Santa Cruz Triathlon @Depot Park
Music at the park @Skypark
Jean Dawson @The Catalyst

Another hump day is off and running, and with more on the way from Lookout, I’d suggest you follow along on social media to keep up with Santa Cruz County news and views — we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads. We also offer breaking news alerts via email and text and a bunch of other newsletters (with Wallace Baine’s Weekender, sent Thursdays, on the horizon), and you can sign up for all that right here.

Our content isn’t possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Keep that coffee strong and the humor stronger — I’ll see you next time.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz