A sign taped to a low bench at Poet’s Park in Oklahoma City, OK.
I arrived at Poet’s Park in downtown Oklahoma City early in the morning, before most of the camp had risen. I was greeted by Justin, met Mike who dropped by to visit the camp between his two jobs. I also witnessed a rather tense confrontation between “Tony” and Justing and Jaymie.
Things seem to be rather tense around this Occupy camp, both in real 3D space and online. If you’re interested in following what’s happening from the Occupiers viewpoint, follow @occupyOKCity on Twitter. There’s another account called @Occupy_OKC that is spouting dubious talking points by such folks as Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe.
Sorry that it is Flash based. But Rachel Maddow explains the Human Mic, and then shows how it is being used as a voice of political dissent. The Human Mic started at Zuccotti Park as a result of an ordinance forbidding the use of sound amplifiers, such as bull horns or electric sound amplifiers.
In this segment, we get to see the reactions of various political candidates to being “mic checked”.
On my birthday, no less!
As 36,0000 people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, a poem was projected onto the Verizon building from an apartment in the projects.
I arrived at Railyard Park in Santa Fe, NM on Wednesday evening, just in time to attend the
GA. After the meeting, I was shown to an empty tent, with the assurance that should the “homosexual gentleman” who’d used it the night before return, that he was a sweetheart, and don’t be afraid. Inside were several blankets, three pillows, and the words “God Is Good” written on the inside of the canvas. Later I noted that one of the blankets was a handmade quilt, in the Wedding Ring pattern. There was a hole in the tent canvas, which explained the use of a tarp draped over it. Scattered amongst the rumpled blankets were three empty booze bottles, ranging from a nip to 750 mil. Also were some clothes and a rhinestone belt. One of the blankets smelled of urine. It was cold, and my feet suffered. No gentlemen of any sexual orientation appeared in the night, thankfully.
Once again, the park was occupied mostly by the homeless, with some visits by working group members. One gentleman came by and washed dishes, and left with an admonition to remind people to wash their own dishes in the future.
Mostly I just observed the people in the camp. They went by nicknames, mostly, but they offered standard first names when introducing themselves, followed by …”but folks call me…”. One young woman, who introduced herself as “Wings” politely refused when I asked if I could make a portrait of her, saying she’d had her retinas scanned when she was released from jail, and she wasn’t comfortable having her picture taken.
There was another woman there with blonde dreadlocks, who seemed to have a hard time communicating, and would sit by herself or wander back and forth between the mess tent and the fire. When she did speak to any of us, it was an effort, and sounded just slightly stilted.
One man in the camp spent his time carving wooden branches, and carried a lovely cane he’d made himself with carvings. He spoke mostly Spanish, or English interspersed with Spanish phrases.
Food was distributed to campers first, and then other homeless were served.
Random thoughts and observations:
It’s hard to wash dishes when the wash water is frozen in the morning.
Down comforters aren’t always enough to keep you warm at night.
There will always be people who complain loudly about the behavior of others, to the point of alienating everybody else around them, and then THEY will be the subjects of complaints.
The Rules aren’t always followed, but it’s best not to flaunt it. Nor snitch about it on your way out.
People still look after one another to some degree.
Salvation Army does offer showers to the homeless. But what you are not told is that they are cold, and is it any wonder the homeless stink rather than risk pneumonia when it is below freezing at night?
Yes, the homeless are Occupiers. Keep in mind that they are fed, have tents and blankets, a warm fire, and are part of the 99%. To exclude them would be hypocritical, against the objectives of the movement.
I’ll be hitting the road in a few hours, and will try to post images tonight when I reach Oklahoma City.
Ali tells us in this video that Bank of Nevada has stopped the foreclosure on the gas station, and they’ve reached an agreement on the payment amounts. Both Occupy Las Vegas and OccupyLV participated in the Occupy. Well done Occupiers!