I was down at the Vancouver Art Gallery Occupy Vancouver site last Friday for some time, and had the opportunity to attend a General Assembly (GA), which is held each day at 1:00 (and again at 7 in the evening as well), for an hour.  It was quite cold and pounding rain at times, but even so, there were many people  and lots of activity on the site.

Facilitation of the GA was shared, and a budding conflict between a old timer (who spoke and looked as though he’d been engaged non-stop since Clayoquot Sound logging protests), and a young participant who had some dissenting opinions, was handled well.  I was moved and impressed at the range of people who had come, and the degree of caring and concern for the causes the Occupy movements are addressing. We heard from each person about what brought them there, and what they saw as pressing issues for the coming days, how to carry the movement forward and keep it peaceful.

Afterwards there were meetings about how to reach out to the larger community –the 99%.  A big sign was there to remind us all that the very rich, the top 1 %,  have influence and power, and control policy making and governments, frequently to the great disadvantage of the remaining 99%.  But 99% is a lot of people and this is why I am writing today.  This is a great opportunity and responsibility, in my opinion.

More about this site:  here is the Soup Kitchen. It was well stocked, and I love the sign: This Is What Democracy Tastes Like.  People were manning it, and serving themselves food.  I was impressed at how much organization and effort has obviously been put into this, and the other tents on the site.

There was a well stocked First Aid tent, and another one where people could go to get free materials, socks, hats, pants, clothes of all sorts, and large covered area where people were gathered and singing and talking.

After the GA, I went to the meditation tent. Periodically someone walked through the crowd and announced that there is ongoing meditation and everyone is welcome to come and add their peace, awareness, and support to what is going on in hundreds of sites around the world.

There was also a tent called “The Peoples’ Lovely Library” 🙂 which was well  stocked and frequented.

Then there were many tents where people were living. There was a, what seemed to be respectful, non-obtrusive, police and fire presence, and an onsite set of security and self-monitoring as well.

So why am I writing about this?  Short answer: It touches me deeply.

Only a small percentage of the 99% have the motivation and grit to show up and stay present to voice the issues of gross inequity, the greed and dominance of corporations, and the excesses of unregulated capitalism that these Occupy Movements are bringing forward. These people, in my opinion, are courageous and most deserving of our support.  They are standing up and investing their time and energy for a saner, kinder, more just and balanced world.

What could this support look like?   You could

  1. take yourself down to a site near you, stand by in support, and see with your own eyes what’s happening;
  2. speak to the people there and listen to their experience and concerns, and share yours;
  3. ask what is needed at the various locations and go get it, or give it;
  4. attend a General Assembly and show support with your presence and input;
  5. offer a workshop — communication, facilitation, conflict resolution, peaceful resistance; citizen action…or other skills that would help. This  is welcome and needed;
  6. take some time in the meditation tent, or on your own, to add your psychic energy…  many people believe that meditation and meditators have a beneficial (measurable) effect;
  7. write a letter to the editor;
  8. go with your kids, nieces, nephews… to a site and tell them what it’s about;
  9. read on the internet about the worldwide movement and talk to friends and strangers about it;
  10. ??? add your own ideas and actions… there’s no limit.  One thing for sure, it will be rewarding and transformational, I firmly believe.
  • Your comments and experience are most welcome.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity. Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.

Share this: