The Central Coast, with its real and symbolic proximity to California’s Central Valley — the home of the farm labor movement — has attracted a new generation of progressives that today are looking to tackle some of the new or persistent challenges facing women, youth, and minorities.
Looking at the speaker and sponsor lineup, I see that many of those folks are represented at this year’s festival. The Festival — with its emerging global reach driven largely by social media and its roving event schedule — gives these new leaders a larger platform in the international community of 21st-century activists and influencers.
I got a Visitor’s Pass and, along with a few other visitors, stepped into a gated area surrounded by an electrified fence topped off with barbed wire. A guard in a watchtower buzzed into another very tiny area, where he waited for the first gate to shut behind us, and then opened the second gate.
Then began the quarter-mile walk towards the visitation room. I was impressed at the speed with which the woman with the six-inch heels was walking. She beat most of us of the dozen or so visitors to the waiting area.
We laid our passes and ID on the counter and waiting for another CO to look at them. By this point, it was about 8:40. As we waited, I struck up a conversation with the mother of a young man sentenced to life for a botched burglary/homicide related to drug trafficking. We chatted about about the dress code for visitors, such as the “no underwire bra” rule for women. “I had to buy a new bra to visit my son,” she said. “I call it my ‘prison bra.’