I’ve been catching wind of the Occupy Boston Movement for a few weeks now. They made a strong showing at the HONK! Festival last weekend in Harvard Square. I was there with my child. I started following their Facebook page and getting more and more curious. I’d already been digging up news about the Occupy Wall Street Movement and winced at the reports of extreme police brutality. One of the bands at HONK!, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, said that they were planning on camping out at Wall Street upon their return back home to New York City. The courage and resolve of these people humbles me.
There have been mixed reports from the local media about Occupy Boston. Earlier this week, they gave off the impression that it was still somewhat paltry. I heard of a scheduled appearance by Amanda Palmer (a local musician and performance artist) at Dewey Square yesterday and realized that this was much bigger than I’d realized and that I couldn’t put off seeing it for myself any longer. When I climbed out of the South Station T stop, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I almost wept. I am one of those people who often loses sleep about the state of the world and the direction it is going. I am often seized with fear for what life in this country will be like for my child when she is an adult. It’s very easy to feel like I am alone and powerless in this. I know I’m not but these emotions aren’t always based on reason. The HONK! Festival was a huge eye opener for me. Those banners that paraded down Massachusetts Avenue might as well have read You are not alone! It was a glorious feeling! That was also how I felt as I made my way through the camp site. I was energized! I knew I had to help!
The organizers seem to be a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of donations and offers to volunteer. It’s a good problem to have! I returned to Dewey Square this morning and went to the Logistics Tent. It had been moved overnight. The guy in the bright yellow jacket seems to be one of the major organizers and after I introduced myself and shook his hand, he put me straight to work. I was already familiar with the layout of the camp since I’d wandered around a bit yesterday. I delivered donated supplies to the kitchen, the medical tent and the Free Free Market which is a tent full of donated clothing that the residents are allowed to help themselves to.
Once the running was done, I helped out another volunteer in organizing, roping up and labeling donated blankets, towels, tents and sleeping bags. I got to talking to this guy and it was his first day too. He is a stay at home dad and his wife works from home on Fridays. He said he felt compelled to bike over to the site and help out. He said that when his two young children are older, they will learn about this movement. When they ask him what he did to help, he didn’t want to have to answer