a sad day

11 Oct

Yesterday, as I was driving to the Occupy San Diego site, I heard the tragic news that a 42 year old man had died apparently from falling from an 11-story parking structure in the Civic Center Plaza. It was  unclear if this man was connected with the occupation. That evening, during GA a decision was taken to have a vigil to remember him. Activists brought together several boxes with candles and cups to remember him. We took some 15 minutes to determine when to have this vigil- whether to take a break and have the vigil (to accommodate the media who were already onsite) or to have the vigil after GA. After passionate expression of different perspectives (“We shouldn’t be a reality show for the media” and “Someone died today, we need to honor him.”), a near unanimous decision was taken to hold the vigil after GA. This was the first collective consensus decision in GA  that had been made in 48 hours (many are still uncomfortable with consensus and are pushing for majority rule). This man’s death saddened many. I can’t help but think that could be me. He was just one year older than me. Apparently no one knew him. There was a call to attend to each other’s well-being.

I continue to be amazed at the dedication of the activists, keeping all these stations going. I am just trying to do what I can, however little.

The Fire Marshall visited yesterday and declared a number of things to be unacceptable– car batteries, generators, tents blocking the way. The Marshall also said we were at capacity and no more new tents should be allowed. Fortunately, there has been ongoing communication with the police and they have been in the words of one veteran activist “almost uncharacteristically cooperative.” They may at any time, however, decide that tents cannot be allowed….

During GA, a few more requests for assistance were put out:

* cash contributions to cover trash runs– it costs $70 each day to drop the trash off from the site. Any and all contributions towards covering this would be welcomed! They are trying to figure out how this cost may be covered.

* food– any and all food contributions welcome!

* books– to the Education Station at the site

* other donations -can be made made to Occupy San Diego, 2801 B St. #61, San Diego, CA 92102

For those who wish to give of their time, but don’t wish to stay on site, there are many committees on which one can serve. The information table can tell you about all of the committees.

I have been trying to make the GA Process Committee meeting but have not seen it yet meet. Yesterday, the newly formed Demands and Objectives committee announced that they were inviting people to talk to each other and learn what demands they have. I hope to talk to the committee convenors to see if they’re willing to revisit the whole idea of demands. I just don’t think much of consequence can happen from making demands. Perhaps it’s about framing an invitation, a vision.

But how do we talk about a “We are the 100%’ paradigm in a way that’ll resonate with both those who are very angry and experienced tremendous injustice (perhaps like the young woman next to me in GA who teared as she shared with me about her parents losing their house) and for those who wish to edit our earnestness down to an eight-second soundbite? Any ideas???

Also, it is still rather draining to be in this crucible as there are so many different energies. For some, this is an opportunity to party non-stop. The drinking and smoking – just to name a few things- are really hard to be around. Some report not feeling very safe here…

M. woke up in the middle of the night (and heard this later this morning) shouts of “F*** the rich!…”. M. also reported having a very positive conversation with the police. Last night a homeless person camped next to us, a few feet away, in his sleeping bag. It really helps me realize that this could be me.

P., M., and I in meditation circle

M. and I, together with P. from the Zen Center offered  sitting meditation again. M. offered both Tai Chi and meditation earlier that morning.

Before going to sleep last night, I was resigned again to not getting enough- if any- sleep. M. kindly offered to visit the Comfort Station with the hope that he’d find some ear plugs. And sure enough, there was one pair left. And, in the midst of all this I slept pretty soundly.

Thanks for all your support, folks!


One Response to “a sad day”

  1. Birgitt Williams October 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    R….I think that there is a lot you can offer and so challenge your concept of ‘little’. You are a seasoned meeting facilitator and a trainer of others in participatory processes. I think that both are essential services now in great measure if there is to be any success with changing the way that things are. Is it possible for you to take the initiative to invite all process facilitators who are interested to be of real help…and start creating meetings that are productive?

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