Occupy Iowa City still pushing forward in 2012

BY GUEST COLUMN | JUNE 29, 2012 6:30 AM

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Occupy Iowa City start in early September 2011, when a few friends told the police that no, they would not leave the park. About four days later, the tents started to go up — and they kept going, all at once a rainbow of color. Large crowds gathered in College Green Park, the campsite and meeting place for Occupy. Food and medical support were provided by Occupy volunteers.

During this time, as a large group, we marched to the downtown Wells Fargo Bank and did a protest. We have performed street theater and presented videos in areas of large population. Some of us were involved in what Occupy calls a "shout out" at Walmart on Black Friday, pointing out Walmart's poor record on its own workers' rights.

Some of us participated in Occupy the caucuses with the even bigger Des Moines group. A number of the Iowa City Occupiers got arrested in Des Moines. Occupy Iowa City also planned and implemented shout outs at Newt Gingrich's speech and Michele Bachmann's visit to a local Iowa City restaurant.

On May 1 of this year, in solidarity with national and international Occupy, we marched for workers' rights. Some of our Occupiers went Chicago for the NATO world trade discussion, joining around 5,000 worldwide Occupiers protesting there.

Collectively, we were so glad and exhilarated to finally be doing something about corporate greed. We shared many a memorable moment together. Those of us who remain are friends now, still sharing a vision for a sane and sustainable world.

Occupy Iowa City occupied College Green for five months until February, when we decided to close the camp. It was a proud, bold, and exciting campsite, and we were all so fortunate to be a part of it.
Occupy Iowa City still occupies this park, in a decision made to spiritually "adopt" the park.

There are still open campsites in the United States. Like Iowa City, many have closed their campsites, choosing instead to meet regularly. The police have evicted many Occupy campsites, including one in Des Moines. Some Occupiers have had to endure pepper spray and horses with police wielding billy clubs, in attempts to protect their campsite.

Occupy is still pushing forward in 2012. We have not gone away, as some would wish us to. Many ideas, expressions, agendas, and goals later, Occupy is still viable.

Occupy Iowa City remains standing strongly, still in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters of the national and internation Occupy movement.

Occupy Iowa City wishes to inform the public of our new meeting arrangement. We now meet for General Assembly the second Thursday of every month in College Green Park at 7 p.m.

Currently, we are discussing actions on foreclosed homes and reform of the health-care system — a buggy. We are thinking now of actions against a local issue — the purchase of downtown Iowa City real estate without voter approval that involves millions of dollars.

Katie Coyle
Coralville resident

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