Occupy Providence Day 6– Not Going Away

Sacred Space

Green Drinks is a monthly gathering that meets at local businesses and organizations that host an open house. It’s a chance to see some cool places from the inside. Since the AIDS benefit, ArtBeat, organized studio tours as a fundraising event I’ve appreciated a chance to see Providence this way.

We stop at Burnside Park on the way to the American Institute of Architects which is this month’s host. On the way, Mr. Green and I check in on the occupation. Last night there was a torrential rainstorm, today there are more tents. The park is filling up. An older man in business casual is talking to one of the occupiers, dropping off supplies for the medical booth. A sign says, ‘The Left is Awake, Let Wall Street Quake’. I talk to one of the first-aiders at the medical, and she says they got through the rain okay. A candlelight vigil is planned for Saturday. There are some occupation dogs participating, I see two on leashes outside the tents. People are raking the space between. I overheard a conversation about safe placement and spacing. The population is growing fast and safety is an active concern.

We get to AIA early, nice old renovated storefront on Washington Street. This is Gallery Night but it’s a little early yet. We look at posters on the wall featuring new buildings and old ones fitted out with 21st Century tech. RISD, Meeting Street School, School for the Deaf, Brown, URI– fine architecture rated for livability and energy conservation.

I remember when I was in high school, in 1972. Some of the cool kids told me about a new concept– a recycling center. This was a volunteer effort, sorting piles of paper into dumpsters. No one respectable took this new concept, ‘ecology’ seriously.

Occupy might have a less rocky path. The way to economic justice was paved by the WPA. Not all the roads are torn up, and those roads were built to last.

In October, in the park, the occupation is growing. I saw a woman on the fringe who looked like the park is her refuge all year round. If the man in business casual and the woman sleeping on her shopping bag find common cause then Wall Street will quake.

THANKS: To Donna Schmader for the photo.

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3 responses

  1. I’m glad it’s growing…we can maybe stop by on Saturday as my older daughter is volunteering at the soup kitchen at Grace Church.

  2. Our son and daughter used to volunteer at a soup kitchen frequently and it was a good experience for them-made them relize early on that a lot of people don’t get to take for granted what most of us do.
    Also that a hell of a lot of people who go to soup kitchens are not there because they’re “bums”.
    A lot of older people show up.

  3. I remember the ecology club at Pilgrim, only the cool kids worked there.

    I walked through the occupy site today, and noticed the mix of those who camp out on the streets of Providence all year, and the newcomers. And I thought, of course the homeless should be there, and if there’s more food donations because of the occupy movement, who better to benefit?

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