1 OWS’ ‘Spring Awakening’ — in NYC, April 14
2 Rally for the 99% — LA, April 17th
OWS’ ‘Spring Awakening’ in Central Park Will Kick Off aSeason of Activism, Attract New Faces
This Saturday’s family-friendly event will draw some new individuals into the movement while also energizing existing Occupiers and facilitating cross-organizational cooperation.
By Simran SachdevAlterNetApril 11, 2012 |
The Spring Awakening 2012, a day of rejuvenation,celebration, and intense movement-building, will takeplace this Saturday, April 14, in Central Park. ForOccupy supporters who may have been disheartened by anystruggles over the winter, this event will help propelOccupy Wall Street forward over the next six months. Itis designed to welcome new people into the life ofactivism and strengthen existing ties of those alreadyembedded in the movement.
With a background in international affairs and humanrights, I came to OWS in early October to see what itwas all about. I was intrigued by the alternative worldthe movement had created in Liberty Plaza in such ashort time. I knew I had to be a part of it. Afterattending numerous general assemblies and marches, andfloating through various working group meetings, Ichose the Spring Awakening citywide assembly as one ofmy first major projects. Having attended the project’sfirst planning meeting in December, I have been anorganizer for the event ever since.
The world that OWS wants to create is one ofcooperation and mutual benefit, based on the beliefthat our society needs to better learn how to work withnew and different people even if they disagree with oneanother, and it was important for us to honor thoseideas in our planning. From the start, Spring Awakeningcoordinators sought to bring people from around thecity, including OWS neighborhood general assemblies,into the planning process to take ownership of theproject. While making decisions via consensus is agreat and necessary tool, it can lead to a very drawn-out and grueling process, especially when you have alot of people with wide-ranging opinions. While someorganizers were definitely disheartened at the slowpace of our planning, many of us stuck together untilthe end for what will likely be a highly revitalizingevent this Saturday. Hurdles and bumps aside, theSpring Awakening is set to be an exciting, fun, andproductive movement-building experience.
The intent of the Spring Awakening is threefold: toreinvigorate, to celebrate, and to host interactivemovement-building.
The Spring Awakening is here to reinvigorate anymomentum that may have been lost over the winter. Sincemany in the general public are misinformed about whatOccupy has been doing over the past few months, we wantto make it clear that we are still here, as alive andenergetic as ever. The numerous meetings we have beenhaving at 60 Wall Street, Judson Memorial Church,Liberty Plaza, and numerous other venues are nowshowing the fruits of our labor. We didn’t getdisheartened and give up after the November 15theviction like the mainstream media has led the publicto believe. Rather, we have spent the winter figuringout how to propel this movement forward and create theworld we want to live in.
The planning team believed it was significant to holdthe event in the spring because of the symbolism of theseason. Spring is a time of renewal and re-growth,which, as mentioned before, is what the SpringAwakening is hoping to bring to the movement. OWS hasbeen a powerful force this spring even prior to thisevent, so we only imagine Saturday to be even betterwith this built-up energy. We also can’t forget theArab Spring that has changed the landscape of theMiddle East, and which helped inspire OWS in its earlydays.
The event will also serve as build-up for May Day,which is expected to be a major day of action for themovement. The Spring Awakening is meant to get peopleenergized, while being lower-risk and less focused ondirect-action.
The Spring Awakening will also celebrate OWS’sachievements. Back on September 17th, no one knew howbig this movement would get or how long it would last -let alone that it would transformed the nationaldiscourse and scare corporations so much that theywould feel the need to buy off the NYPD in an attemptto shut us up. While looking forward is essential, itis also imperative to look back and celebrate ouraccomplishments. Live music, food, discussions, andother festivities will give us the chance to reflectand appreciate our victories.
OWS organizer Colby Hopkins commented, “One of thegreatest accomplishments of Occupy Wall Street is thatit has pushed to the forefront the reality that theroot of all of our social ailments is thesame….Knowing we have a common enemy reminded us thatwe need a collective solution. Spring Awakening 2012will build this movement, in part, by combiningpeoples’ efforts around various issues and focusingthem on our common enemy.”
Another function the Spring Awakening will serve is asa mechanism for interactive movement building. Thefacilitated assembly, taking place at 3pm, isessential, as it will be a space for a variety oforganizations and individuals to unite on initiatives.Various organizations are submitting campaigns thatthey are currently working on and will form clusters,which will in turn work on strategic visioning fortheir collective initiatives over the next three to sixmonths. The hope is that organizations doing similarwork will network, combine efforts, and find ways tocollaborate on their work moving forward. This willserve as a model for a “clearinghouse” that we hope toestablish for organizations, at which groups will beable to share their work with each other.
How to Participate
There will be an abundance of things to do all dayduring the Spring Awakening. Participants looking forteach-ins, discussions, or more information aboutdifferent Occupy groups should visit the open spacetaking place on the south side of the park (west ofWollman Rink, near the 6th Avenue entrance) between 1pmand 6pm. Be sure to bring a blanket; there will bepicnic-style “blanketing” so we don’t face any issueswith having tables at the park. Numerous groups andperformers have confirmed attendance for the openspace, including the Commission on Voluntary Service&Action,La Union, Women Occupying Wall Street, and SuchAs Us.
If you’d like to participate in the facilitatedassembly at 3pm, you can do so under the umbrella of anorganization, or join any campaign cluster that sparksyour interest. A few, out of the many, organizationsand groups that have committed to the facilitatedassembly include theManhattan Free School,theRestaurant Opportunities Center of New York, ACT UP,and Healthcare NOW! NYC. There will be an info booth atthe park with more information on where to go.
If you’re completely new to Occupy, the SpringAwakening also has a place for you. Keep an eye out for”occu-mentors” walking around the park. They will beready to have a discussion with you about how yourinterests match up with OWS and how you can get pluggedin to the movement.
The event is also meant to be family-friendly and helpparents get involved in OWS. The day is planned in away so as to avoid the police confrontation that oftencomes with Occupy events. An OWS activist mom, RivkaGewirtz Little, says “It is families who are livingunder the effects of crushing debt, foreclosures,joblessness, public school closings, and policeharassment against their children. We as parents wantto get involved with Occupy Wall Street, but we don’talways know how, and frankly it can be scary to bringour children into the unknown. Yet we are naturalcommunity organizers. We bake enough cookies to supportentire school programs, and pressure the Department ofEducation like no one else. Spring Awakening 2012 willshow parents how to take these organizing skills andplug into Occupy Wall Street and other community basedorganizations to make change.”
So whether you are a long-time activist, new to thegame, or haven’t figured out where to get started, theSpring Awakening will have a space for you. Don’t missthe opportunity to get plugged-in and make a differenceto your world and communities.________________Simran Sachdev is a human rights activist and writer,currently working in the nonprofit world and organizingwith Occupy Wall Street on the side. She holds a MS inGlobal Affairs, with a concentration in Human Rightsand Humanitarian Assistance, from NYU. Her future plansare to continue working towards the advancement ofhuman rights worldwide, both in her personal andprofessional life.
Rally for the 99%
By Sharon Kyle L.A. Progressive
Los Angeles, CA
April 17, 2012 4:30PM to 6:00PM
Hosted by Good Jobs LA
Event Description: Tuesday, April 17th – is tax day forthe 99%. But for the 1% – corporate tax dodgers likeWells Fargo or General Electric and millionaires likeMitt Romney – it’s never tax day.
Event Location: Pershing Square’s “Fair Share Plaza,”Olive Street between 5th and 6th St, Los Angeles, CA90014
We can’t afford more cuts to our education, health andsafety services. It’s time for the richest 1% to paytheir fair share.
Rally against Corporate Dodgers with your community!
Want to know more about this organization, read theletter below or better yet, go to their website – The99 Spring. There are hundreds of actions taking placeall over the United States in collaboration with thiseffort. And there is a fantastic video at the bottom ofthis post. Just scroll down.
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