Searching for Occupy
The occupations in D.C. lasted longer than most, but on February 5th, the police arrived to clear us out. Working groups formed, but the public face and place where anyone could join General Assemblies was gone. The media declared Occupy dead. Alternative news sources still report on housing foreclosures thwarted, money moved out of big banks, homeless shelters opened and on-going protests against drones, wars, Tar Sands pipelines, Monsanto and Citizens United: but, most of what Occupy continues to accomplish is happening without widespread attention and without the connection Occupy offered by bridging individual actions to one effort as a whole.
On July 4th, I was in Paonia, Colorado visiting my sister when a hairdresser named Sid had an idea to protest the Koch Brother tank that was to lead the town parade. I encouraged him, filmed it and put it up on YouTube labeled "˜Tiananmen Sid Stops Tank'. It got a bunch of views and the next night to our total surprise it was the lead story on Rachel Maddow. A longtime media activist, the experience got me thinking about citizen journalism, and how it is the only place truth is being told.
So, here's my new plan:
I've paired up with a friend from Occupy Washington, D.C. We're culturally miles apart. She grew up in Texas. She's Hispanic and met her birth mother for the first time at age 13. She's 20 years younger than me, and she's pierced and tattooed. I grew up white and protected in Aspen, Colorado surrounded by 1%ers. I own a Prius and my own condo. What we have in common is what took us out of our comfort zones to become Occupiers. We love our country and our earth and we are beyond angry at the injustice, inequality and apathy we see everywhere. We are not willing to sit back and take it anymore. We are willing to sleep in tents and on couches and eat whatever we're offered and even go to jail if it means we can make some kind of a difference:
A few days ago, I called my friend and asked her if she would like to go on a road trip with me to Search for Occupy:
We're buying a camera and will video blog as we go. We will document what Occupy is doing around the country. At the end of our journey, we will put together a film to show every doubter out there what Occupy is doing, has done and will do:
I've been advised to drop the "˜Occupy' label. "It doesn't raise money," I was told. I have to laugh. Since when was Occupy about raising money? This will be a piece of OccuJournalism funded by those who help us along the way. I can't think of a better way for me to spend my grandchildren's inheritance - the money my parents spent a lifetime earning. No matter what we discover, my grandsons will be able to say, "Our Nana was there. She did everything she could."
So, watch for us. We're drawing up a map and making a plan and we'd like to visit YOU.