News Briefs

Civil rights activist to share ‘This Bright Light of Ours’

Just weeks after the brutal 1965 “Bloody Sunday” attacks in Selma, 19-year-old Maria Gitin joined the effort canvassing for Black voters in rural Wilcox County, Ala. Her book, “This Bright Light of Ours,” records the events of that harrowing summer and highlights the unheard voices of grassroots Freedom Fighters who formed the backbone of the Civil Rights Movement.

Readers find this book “very well-written and documented,” “incredible” and “vivid.” Gitin’s memoir of a young ally in 1965 and stories she gleaned when she returned to Wilcox in 2000 offer a holistic view of the dedicated activists of that era and how their stories evolved.

Hosted by the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library, this month’s Author Talk will feature Gitin on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 3-4pm in the Fireside Room at Scotts Valley Branch Library.

Gitin augments her book talk with a multimedia slideshow highlighting this critical turning

point in U.S. history. “This Bright Light of Ours” will be available for purchase and signing, as well.

Bench warrant relief day set for Saturday

Santa Cruz County Criminal Justice Partners, including the Office of the Public Defender, District Attorney’s Office, Probation Department and Superior Court, are collaborating to help community members who have an active bench warrant get back on track to start off their New Year.

The justice system is complex and can lead to confusion and miscommunication for those individuals who find themselves navigating the process or who are placed on community supervision. Many warrants are issued as a result of technical violations due to breakdowns in communication.

“Despite the different roles, all Criminal Justice Partners share the same goal of public safety for each member of our diverse community,” according to a news release.

This month, local agencies are coming together to provide an opportunity to possibly have community members’ warrants recalled and get connected to community resources. The free bench warrant relief day will be held Saturday, Jan. 27, from 10am-2pm, at the Luna y Sol Family Center, 15 Madison St. in Watsonville.

For more information, or to check eligibility in advance, call or email the Santa Cruz County Office of the Public Defender: 831-345-7813, [email protected]. Visit for more info.

Bay Federal Credit Union’s 2024 Education Scholarship opens for applicants

Bay Federal Credit Union is now accepting applications for its 2024 Education Scholarship contest. Up to three individual winners will be awarded $1,500 toward their education or career training expenses. 

Acceptance or enrollment into a post-secondary education program at any accredited college, university, trade or technical school is required. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The application process, which is now entirely digital, includes a signed and completed application, proof of enrollment or letter of acceptance and an original essay on the following topic: Building financial resilience. Essays should explore ways in which one can cultivate financial resilience such as saving for emergencies or managing student loan debt.

Applicants are asked to share any personal anecdotes, research or innovative ideas that can inspire positive change when building financial resilience.

Applications can be found at Recipients will be chosen by a panel of judges who will review and score each eligible applicant’s submitted materials based on the set of criteria listed within the application. 

Winners will be notified via phone and/or email by April 30.

“I’m extremely proud that we can offer financial support to help dedicated students reach their education goals,” said Carrie Birkhofer, president and CEO of Bay Federal Credit Union. “Sixty-six years ago Bay Federal was established by educators for educators. This scholarship serves as an opportunity for Bay Federal to honor that history and fulfill our mission of making a real difference in the financial lives of our members.”

 Over the past 15 years, the Credit Union has awarded $84,000 in scholarships.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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