What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Awakening

So unfortunately, I haven't been able to write about much of last weekend's events yet, of which the Spring Awakening was the cornerstone.  We in the occupy world have been planning this event for months.  Since before I started that job even and started writing again.  It started with a room full of a hundred or so organizers from all walks of issues and boroughs, and at times dwindled down to a couple dozen stalwarts.  My involvement waned quite a bit as well as I was working during the meetings.  But the event itself was fabulous. 

It was in Central Park south just near the Wolman ice rink.  There were at one time (yes, someone counted), 625 people there, and that was before it was at its most profound.  People were certainly cycling through as well.  Tourists, locals, all wondering what the crazy Occupiers were doing there! 

It was a great event.  It started at one o'clock and had an open area for teach-ins, art, performances, family events such as a potato sack race, and much more.  The think tank had a discussion on whether "Occupy was an anti-capitlist movement."  It went pretty well.  But it certainly didn't have the power that we had in the Liberty Park (Zuccotti) as we weren't the only open discussion around!  Anyway, that went on till three when a little march brought everyone together for a larger assembly.  The assembly started off fairly normally with some introductions on what we would be doing, the process, etc.  but things took a turn.  A man got up and started mic checking about coming from Texas and the woman with him would be having his baby in August.  I was wondering what was happening until he got down on one knee and said it wouldn't be complete if she wouldn't be his wife.  Of course the audience all sighed adoringly, and she said yes! 

Following that we broke up into about 20 smaller discussion groups of 20 or so people to discussion various issues.  It was basically a bunch of think tanks, but with a few direct questions.  I facilitated one of the two groups about education (which had to be broken out because of so many people).  It was really good.  A lot of people trying to decide the best way to activate everyone, the most pressing needs, and how to organize us all in the most efficient ways.  We talked a lot about problems in the k-12 school systems, but probably more about higher education - fees, about a lack of accessibility, and about how and what we are learning.  The general gist of the whole discussion in general was about reassessing the entire system.  How we fund education, what it is and how we are teaching people, and who and how their involvement with each other affects the education system.  It was a really good discussion. 

After that all the groups did report backs on what they discussed.  The groups occupied the whole spectrum of subjects from anti war to neighborhood outreach, and everything in between.  There were a lot of great ideas and all in all just a lot of great people, at a great event, having great discussions.  A wonderful way to kick off the spring and summer.  Except that I got a sun burn! 


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