Today is the one-year anniversary of us here at Occupy Updates Daily. I'm going to give you the news, followed by a little anniversary story from me! This is actually somehow the 365th post, exactly on the one year date. I'm quite surprised at that, since I did miss some days. Other days I posted twice, so I suppose that makes up for it.
-- As Hurricane Sandy lumbers into the East Coast, most people have taken shelter. But there are some that cannot. Thousands of homeless people cannot fit into the New York City homeless shelters, and may be being turned away from evacuation centers. These people have no where to hide from the approaching storm. The trains, where homeless people can get out of bad weather, have been shut down. In this story, a reporter approaches homeless people to ask what they will do. The shortest answer is: They don't know.
-- Climate activists in the UK have gone to new heights. At least 17 of them climbed to the tops of cooling towers in one of the new gas-fired power stations in West Burton. The activists have enough supplies to last them a week. As for now, the cooling towers have been shut down. Five others were arrested in their attempts to gain access. The group of activists, called No Dash for Gas, opposes the UK's new government plans to green light up to 20 new gas plants, which cause pollution and contribute to rising energy costs.
-- [Chuck] Climate activists aren't just in the UK. Here's an image of Occupy Chicago joining together to "End Climate Silence."
-- Occupiers and other protesters in Philly are outraged about the fundraiser set for a fired police officer who lost his job after he sucker-punched a woman in the face, leaving her bleeding on the sidewalk. The Fraternal Order of Police did not specifically run the fundraiser, but they allow any member to use their building for fundraising once a year. Protesters commented that their inaction on this subject makes it seem as if they support the officer's actions, which both the Chief of police and the Mayor have decried.
-- [Chuck] This startling and eye-opening article is one we all need to read. If you've paid attention to the news lately, you have likely heard that a nanny killed two children in NYC before slitting her own throat. But that isn't all to the story. Only tiny mentions have been made of who the children were, namely, children of a CNBC executive. CNBC had run a story that named names, government organizations, bankers, and businesses involved in a $43 trillion dollar money laundering scandal just the day before. Soon after the children were killed, the CNBC story disappeared with no explanation. These children's deaths, and the strange alleged actions of their nanny (who had been previously seen earlier in a pleasant mood) put a suspicious light on the Corporate Media's story. Considering that this is not the first attack on an executive this week, it's terrifying to see what these people can do when they want you to shut your mouth.
One year ago today, I sat down in front of my computer to gather up information concerning Occupy movements around the world, and share them in one easy place. That was my goal. To make it simpler to find the stories we know are out there. I had watched the Occupy movement begin to grow at a tremendous rate. I saw our own movement get attacked by police. I wanted to do something to help, even though I was sickly and bound mostly to my home. The blog became my voice.
As time went on, Occupy grew and grew. Police swept in under commands to shut it down. People were seriously injured, almost killed. Thousands have been arrested. People who aren't involved with the movement scorned us all as socialist, communists, or somehow both. They saw our protests as standing up against authority, which they take for granted.
But as the movement grew, things began to change. While other people still see us as a confused group of hippies, many more have realized that there is no denying the impact Occupy has had. Our main group of Occupiers has split into multiple factions fighting for local, federal, and global change. There are environmentalists, equal rights advocates, socialists, anarchists, communists, conservatives, liberals, and many, many, more labels that people in our groups can fit into. When we split into smaller groups, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Sociologically, many groups split and come back together as they are growing, and continue to fight for change.
They can't deny that we have changed things. Awareness of faulty practices on Wall Street is the highest it has ever been. Foreclosures have been stopped at the hand of Occupy. The federal government is suing the banks. Companies are being forced to change their shoddy practices. Occupy has revolutionized the media, moving people away from Corporate Media tactics and into social ranks. There are college courses based on the movement. Homeless people are finding their voices within our welcoming arms. Class warfare and income inequality are real, and people see that now. Income inequality was even brought up in the Presidential debates, all thanks to Occupiers. Several cities have opened shelters, changed tactics against the homeless, and moved their money to local banks, all because Occupy was there.
It's amazing. Even the blog has changed. I started out writing short, simple pieces explaining what was going on. Then I added links. Shortly thereafter, I began to get contributors. People sent me the stories they believed needed to be heard. The blog began to materialize on Facebook pages. Livestreamers read the news each morning to their viewers. The Occupied Wall Street Journal emailed me to ask if the blog could be a part of their site. Multiple other local Occupy sites followed. To this day, I have roughly 25,000 unique page views, but I will never know how many people read my blog. It is shared so widely, and I am so happy to help. Some of my contributors became regular, like Chuck. Others pop in and out, bringing important information with them.
I've changed as well. If you have been reading over the past year, I've given you some snippets of my life, so you know a bit about me. In the past year, I've graduated with a Bachelors in Linguistics, spent the summer looking for work unsuccessfully, for the most part, and started school again as a Masters in Sociology. I had surgery, decided to return to Linguistics, had a tooth pulled (actually a few since this blog started,) and went back to school. In the past year, I've been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, secured an amazing Fellowship, and fought with both the administration and financial aid. (Still fighting with financial aid.) My brother just had his 24th birthday, which is amazing for a child who was supposed to die at 16. He's on a breathing machine and in a wheelchair. He has Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy. He may not make it much longer, since my mom says he has been sleeping a lot more lately. But you never know, since he does tend to stay up very late playing computer games. In the past year, I've begun to walk with a cane for balance, heavily leaning on it when the weather changes. I've opened my eyes and realized that I was an atheist, and that regardless of what anyone says, it isn't a horrible thing and I still have my morals and ethics.
I believe that we've all changed. This movement has changed us, and we have changed this movement. We are stronger and smarter than we were. We are aware of what lengths people and governments are willing to go to in order to keep us complacent. We are aware that social inequality exists, no matter how strongly it is argued against. We are aware that we, as humans, are damaging our environments.
We are brilliant.
We are kind.
We are open.
We are Occupy.
And we aren't fucking leaving.