A Message to the White House from Occupy Harrisonburg #1

This is a message sent to the White House Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement after White House staff members met with Virginia community leaders through Virginia Organizing on Friday, June 13 2012.

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ANY CHARACTER HERE

Dear Jon,

We appreciated the White House staffers taking valuable time on Friday to talk with Virginia community leaders.  Thank you. This type of outreach is critical in maintaining a connection with community.
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Thank you as well for engaging in a discussion about Occupy. You were surprised to be told that Occupy is still active.  It absolutely is.
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I am an active Occupier in Harrisonburg, Virginia and follow the social media of this movement closely. The energy is only growing – not just in this country, but in MadridMexico CityMontreal (please watch this beautiful film)… and more.
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This country’s people are exhausted with the corruption of the banks and the hubris of the corporations. We’ve seen our lives and livelihoods eroded, we are fully aware our vote means next to nothing thanks to Citizens United and unregulated systems, and we are colonized by consumption.
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Our public, democratic spaces are disappearing (see 8:31 and 10:46 on this recent Zuccotti park stream after Occupy’s National Gathering). And there only seems to be more of the same on the horizon ie the LIBOR scandal.
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I promised I would send you links and some background:
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-Occupy Harrisonburg began October 17th 2011 in our city’s court square. 120 people attended the first meeting.
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-Our tagline is: Pro-people. Pro-local. Pro-peace.
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-Our map for action is:  Celebrate what works. Recognize what’s broken. Take responsibility. Create action. Repeat.
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-We never camped as protest but we occupied the Gazebo/Spring House every day through mid-April.  Now we have about 20 consistent members: college professors, lawyers, doctors, aid workers, volunteers, filmmakers, authors, students and others who meet every Tuesday at 6PM for our General Assembly.
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-Each week since October we’ve Occupied a local Sustainable Living Homestead with carpentry and gardening.
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-Each month we hand out Move-Your-Money fliers and conduct a Cash Mob (we descend on a locally-owned business with money and love – with their pre-approval of course).
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-We protested Corporate Personhood at Supreme Court and Congress in January.  We protested Big Coal and Wells Fargo with singing protest in March.  In April we protested lack of action on climate change at the EPA.
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-In June we protested ICE for detaining and threatening violent deportation of our Mexican neighbor. (He was released)
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-Our members research and educate about debtnew economies, cooperatives, and how Occupy intersects with theology and spirituality. We are focused on envisioning answers and solutions as well as pointing out what is broken.
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-In late May, we took part in Occupy Virginia Regional General Assembly where 66 people and 9 Occupy groups from around the state gathered.  Top state issues?  Corporate Personhood, Uranium, the War on Women. The Ustreams and notes from each group can be found through the link I’ve posted here.  It was gratifying for us to connect with other determined groups who are working as hard and mostly HARDER than we are to fix what is broken.
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What is next for Occupy Harrisonburg and the greater Occupy?  I am sure you are aware that personal debt is the key issue that connects the people in this country. September 17th marks the one year anniversary of OWS and the movement is focusing on debt as our protest. And that is where we continue to look for solutions.
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Occupy Harrisonburg is not a fringe group.  We are not an anomaly. We are The People.  We are United.  And this Occupation is not leaving.
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Thank you again for your interest in what is happening at Occupy across this country.  Please contact me on this email with any questions you may have about this. I look forward to your response.
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Facebook:  Occupy Harrisonburg
Twitter: @Occupyhburg
Ustream: The Occupy Harrisonburg Channel
email:  occupyhburg@gmail.com
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All My Best,
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PM/Filmmaker, Educator, Activist

April Move-Your-Money and Cash Mob

We had a small, but mighty gathering today at our monthly move-your-money and cash mob action.

RoxAnna, Jim, Paulette, and our new member Anieta attended.
We handed out flyers in all the usual haunts – and included hand-outs for where and when the Cash Mob would happen. That worked!  Three people came over to the cash mob including a woman, Jean, from New Mexico who had been looking for a local Occupy.  We tried to convince her to come out to the Zeebo.  She’s a little busy getting her masters, but maybe.
The cash mob was sweet – Friendly City Food Coop staff appreciative.  Here is the stream from the action:
Have a terrific Liberation/Redemption season.  I’ll see you on the other side!

Paulette


Vote! What Was Your Favorite Moment from Our 2.28 OHB General Assembly?


Occupy Main Street. Resources.

Cornell West on How Intellectuals Betrayed the Poor.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about how our most powerful actions are now, and will continue to be, about how we connect locally and become interdependent in our own communities.

Here is a collection of resources that helps define the terms and shape the way we envision the future beginning very close to home.

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An Introduction to Live Streaming/Ustream

UPDATE 3.05: The U.K.’s Guardian blog profiles William Gagan and Geoffery Shively, two citizen journalists who honed their live streaming and reporting skills at Occupy and went onto Syria, one of the most dangerous places in the world for reporters of any skill level.

This week we premiered Occupy Harrionsburg’s Ustream Channel at our first Cash Mob.  While live streaming video might seem a bit underwhelming from OHB’S first action with it – the technology is posing a huge challenge to mainstream news gathering by propelling the Occupy Wall Street movement directly to interested viewers. Live streaming holds both police and protesters accountable for their actions with instantly accessible images.  It also allows viewers to interact live with the broadcaster through direct messages to the broadcaster’s screen while she or he is recording.

Click here for a Mashable article and video and here for a Time piece about well-known livestreamer Tim Pool on the impact of live streaming.

This is an informative Reuters piece on Pool’s equipment, and drone technology for crowd estimates as he readies for May Day and the G8 Summit.

Timcast Ustream Channel

Twitter: @Timcast

Other notable Occupy live streamers:

Luke Rudkowski

OccupyFreedomLA

OakFoSho

A list of other Occupy live streams


Occupy Harrisonburg’s First Cash Mob!

This week after we enacted our monthly Move-Your-Money Action we saw Occupy Harrisonburg’s first Cash Mob (A group gathers a pre-determined location at a pre-determined time and spends money there).  In OHB’s case we mobbed Downtown Books and Shenk’s Bakery  to honor and invest in local business versus corporate stores.

We also premiered our Ustream channel, called The Occupy Harrisonburg Channel which is explained a bit further here.

And here is Bob Bersson’s Action Report:

February 4th Action Day: Move Your Money and The First Cash Mob!

A nice turnout of button-wearing Occupy Harrisonburg members–Tim Wiggins, Levi Mason, Paulette Moore, Jim Van Orden, Michael Feikema, Ray Gingerich, Heather Banks, Linda Royster, Doug Hendren, Nancy Beall, and Bob Bersson—on a grey, chilly day.

Bob and Levi organize Move-Your-Money and Cash Mobs

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