On Wednesday, January 18th, 2012. Ethan, Kayla, Merylda, Annisia, and I piled into Ethan's car and went down to Burnside Park in Providence, RI. We met some really nice characters, sadly I didn't get names, but we left with a lot of information.
First off it was FREEZING! You could really tell that this must be something really important to these activists to be down there in the cold. One man seemed to really know what he was talking about, I labeled him as the organizer. He told us that he had been there since early October. Going on 100 plus days and nights already. There was another man with a big beard and a hat which looked very warm who has traveled with occupy a lot. He told us that he started in North Carolina, moved to the Boston Occupy, and is now involved with the Providence Occupy. There was another man with blond hair who had very strong views on religion, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. There were some women, some men, and even a dog who seemed to be enthused with their cause. Many Occupiers however had other obligations so they couldn't stay long.
I was especially impressed the their information booth. They had a dry erase board listing meeting times, brochures, and women in the booth that could answer any questions anyone has. When Professor Bogad talked about the Boston Occupy and how organized it was, this Providence Occupy seemed extremely small and disheveled. However you must understand that it's freezing outside, many people will abandon their post during the winter and return in the spring. Also the organizer man said that many people who are involved with Occupy Providence are people with families and homes and jobs they must get back to, but these people find time to go to meetings and events. The man also told us that they have had meetings in city hall and parades around providence.
The little village was surrounded with about twenty or thirty tents. There was flags waving which i thought were very interesting discussing the LGBTQ's involvement with occupy. There was also various spray painted sayings on the tents and ply wood laid out around the camp. Besides the pigeons, there wasn't many people to be seen. Most were not in camp, or in the tents. There was about five or six people in sight.
So finally we wanted to know what this was about. The man told us that there are jobs that get bought out, instead of working to fix the company that is based in the U.S., and make this project profitable slowly in a couple years time, businesses will buy companies and move them over seas. This makes a huge profit gain for these companies,, and puts millions out of work in the U.S. The man with the beard gave us a story about a factory in North Caroline. A factory went under, got moved over seas, and was replaced with a Walmart. The city is now a ghost town for no one could afford their lives in this small town.
Another main issue is that with wall street and the banks. Tons of tax payer dollars go to save banks from bankruptcy due to foreclosures, rather than helping those who have the mortgages find a way to earn enough money to pay off their mortgages. In this way you would be giving tax payers jobs,and keeping the banks open, rather then a quick fix and paying out the banks.
We told these men about our class, and what we have learned. They told us that they are fighting for the same things we learned about... Equality. That's all they want. They want everyone to have a fair chance at that American dream, rather then a higher unemployment rate. This experience was eye opening (as was this class). I would have never gone to Occupy if this class didn't make it a requirement. I was nervous, and didn't know what to expect. But everyone was really nice, and I enjoyed getting to chat with everyone and seeing their passion.
THIS IS THE ORGANIZER MAN WE TALKED TO (:
I definitely plan to check it out this spring. They informed me about their twitter account, facebook, and some interesting YouTube videos on their cause. I already checked out their page, and wish them the best of luck. I want to be an ally, I may not be able to dedicate all my time, and I definitely will not be camping in the cold, but I'll swing by and do what I can once in a while. This was a great experience.