Happy Thanksgiving, especially to the Occupiers
I was in Washington this week to deliver some military tents to the folks at Freedom Plaza. It looks a lot like it did when I left last month, except the stage is gone and in its place is a huge blue “fort,” the creation of Joe Singleton.
“It’s Fort Snoopy,” he said. “It’s the fort I always wanted to build as a kid but couldn’t. ”
Fort Snoopy stands two stories tall, and it’s cavernous. But it’s a place to keep dry in the wet weather — better than staying in your tent, which many occupiers did during Tuesday’s steady, cold rain.
The beautiful thing is that they’re still there. There were as many tents as there were when I left. The place looks a little more fortified, what with the addition of the big blue tent. The Media Tent is enclosed now, and people are there most of the time to make sure nothing grows legs.
There have been a few thefts, but Joe suspects they’re coming from people who aren’t part of the movement.
“You’ll see somebody come in and walk around and then leave,” Joe said. “You won’t see them again. It’ll be somebody else who comes in and takes stuff.”
I was so glad to go back, even though I couldn’t stay long. I took my friend Sarah Skinner along for company (it was our fourth trip to DC together) and we left Asheville about 3 p.m., the U-Haul fully loaded with tents, poles and heaters, and arrived in DC about 12:30. We dropped off the U-Haul, took a cab to a hostel and then back to Freedom Square for a couple hours before we had to pick up rental car and start home.
If it hadn’t been for the holiday, we would have stayed longer. Next time, I’ll plan on staying for three or four days.
I know the Occupiers here are planning a turkey dinner today, and I’m pretty sure they have turkey cooking in the tent at Fredom Plaza.
No matter what the TV news and other mainstream media are saying, the movement is not falling apart. People are building community, and the movement is growing. Freedom Plaza is just as thriving as it was a month and a half ago, and McPherson Square is jam-packed with tents as well.
I’m thankful to be part of the 99 percent today, and I’m ready to keep working for social and economic justice. If you’re going near an Occupy site today or in the coming days, they need food, kitchen supplies, socks, tents, blankets, sleeping bags, coats and batteries, among other things. Remember that this movement has taken in a lot of people who were homeless and have nothing. Please show your gratitude with something they need.
Thanks.Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.