Occupy Gary

1. What were your intial thoughts about Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Gary?

As OWS continues to pick up momentum, I am more and more optimistic that we can make a real impact on the culture of our nation and our world. It is equally important to Occupy our local areas, like Gary, to keep the spotlight on economic inequalities at every level. If the Occupy movement can be successful at engaging the racial component of economic injustice, then we’ll be taking a huge step forward in our human evolution.

2. How would you like to see Occupy Gary, and Occupy in general grow?

Even more than the threat of violence, the 1% has used the “divide and conquer” strategy to keep poor whites and people of color from organizing together. I would most like to see us growing in understanding, as much as numbers. As core groups of people work across traditional lines of race and class, in hundreds of cities in our nation, we will undermine the the philophical foundations for the whole consumerist culture, creating space for a new conversation about creating a more just society. We need to have enough people showing up that we appear to be viable and strong, to the people driving by and the politicans across the street. Then, as more and more people see diverse groups of people demonstrating together, all over the country, those old divisions will appear less and less valid.

3. Are there specific demands and issues you’d like to see Occupy take, especially at the local level?

“Tax the 1%” is probably the most easily expressed of the many issues OWS is addressing. Most of these changes need to occur at the national level, and then ripple outward to our regions, cities and towns. It’s really more of a philosophical change, to take seriously the widening wealth gap. We need to address that at every level. I’m new to the Region, and do not know any specifics about how this might unfold in Gary or the rest of northwest Indiana.

4. What, in your view, needs to happen to bring in more people of color, especially youth?

I cannot speak for others. If it were me, I would want to see real solidarity, real appreciation for *my* lived experience, before I would risk my time and energy. We should be asking youth of color what they need–and then taking their answers to heart.

5. Would you call this a ‘movement’?

(photograph of me and Gary Mayoral candidate Eddie Tarver taken by Sam Love. Sam also asked the above questions)

2 comments to Occupy Gary

  • Suzanne

    Just a note to let you know i was here and read your thoughts, Chip.

    In the two weeks that i’ve gone to Occupy Chesterton, it’s been encouraging to see the variety of folks who have been showing up. Many different occupations represented, different age groups…not much ethnic diversity in Chesterton, for sure, but it’s a start! This movement will only grow as we all begin to speak to one another and share our experiences and concerns.

    Great photo, fantastic sign!! :)



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