The Billboard: Occupy Seattle, Oct. 22, 2011

Note: This article was written before I took any journalism classes

Oct. 22, 2011

Mister Tim Leu,

I understand you are looking for a few paragraphs from an attendee at the Occupy Seattle camp in Westlake.  I hope the following lines will suit your purpose.

At the General Assembly one late evening, a voice called out from the back.  “Speaking of religion!” exclaimed the voice “They are trying to arrest a man for praying!”

A newcomer had shown up to join.  A quiet man, much like myself.  An old Native American, perhaps 60 years old, had come to offer a prayer of protection for the movement.  He had kneeled on a blanket in supplication to his gods.  Unfortunately for both him and the police, this has recently been deemed illegal by our good mayor, Mike McGinn.

The police encircled him, using their bikes as an impromptu barricade against the inevitable surge of protesters.  The evenings’ facilitators called for a break in the general assembly and the crowd of 250 mobilized to encircle the police.  Shouts went out “That man has a right to freedom of religion!” and “you can’t arrest a man for praying!”  Sure enough after some time we all centered on our most recent fall back.  “Cite the Code!” in short order the heaving Poseidon that was 250 angry citizens shouted at the circle of police, with the man still praying in the middle.  “Cite the Code! Cite the Code!”  Soon enough the police thought better of it and filed out in their typical form, one by one mounting their bicycles and riding off as the former officer was deemed safe.  And for a little extra perspective: this is one of the smaller crowds.

The energy you find at Westlake today is of a different brand.  For the courageous core campers who stay night after night and day after day this energy has become their food.  Nothing more than a few hours of catnaps is enough for these people to subsist on for almost a month now.  Volunteers bring hot food and coffee for those that are standing through the frigid nights and cigarettes are rolled from huge bags of tobacco, passed out freely to those that have sacrificed their workdays in the name of humanity.

Since the beginning, Occupy Seattle, in solidarity with Occupy Wall StreetFeedback has held to one ideal:  Corporate money and corruption must stay out of politics.  We want our government back.  The draw this simple message has instilled in the hearts of Washington State is astounding.  Week after week thousands of people flood the commercial district of Seattle to march in solidarity with a global movement towards an accountable government.

Regardless of hard times the core message we have for our country and our world remain.  The General Assembly, which is the decision making body of the movement, meets every night.  Anyone can vote, there are no leaders, and all are welcome.

Some examples of the things our working groups submit are the Occupy Seattle Adopt-a-Street program, Friday marches on the foreclosure auctions, Saturday marches on ‘too big to fail’ banks and tent raising ceremonies. Remember our brothers and sisters in Oakland.  Come on down, it’ll be a gas!

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