Saturday, December 10, 2011


It feels so good to be tired for a worthwhile reason again.

This morning I took Older Son to the anti-bullying Children's General Assembly and Photo-op. He was the first to get on stack at the General Assembly (of course he was-- he was practically jumping up and down with excitement at the chance to speak in front of all those cameras), and he spontaneously sang the Jingle Bells, Bloomberg smells song. Must not grab child when the cameras are rolling...

At least he wasn't carefully prompted by his mother, right? It was all genuine and from his heart?


Then he painted on some of the 5000 construction paper hearts that were symbolizing the arrests of protestors since September 17th and drew a peace sign on the Children's Brigade banner and got interviewed by someone with a real lapel mic and an extremely soft voice. He chose a pre-made sign with a big cartoon on it and we hit the subway to Foley Square (Which stop? This stop!)...

I had seen a suspiciously large number of people wearing Santa-themed items of clothing, but assumed it was a flash mob sort of thing. Then we got to Foley Square and they-- and their little helpers-- were everywhere. (You haven't lived until you've seen Santa-Jesus--red velvet outfit, carrying a cardboard box cross covered in shiny wrapping paper-- walking past City Hall)... And they were drunk.

So, there we are, taking pictures in front of the courthouse steps and there are drunk Santas frolicking around us... (I'm just setting the scene here, I'll get to the good stuff in a minute...)

We move over to City Hall, heavily under renovation and well-fenced. A decision is made to use tape to tape the hearts onto the fence, since we can't/ aren't allowed to bring them onto the City Hall steps. So, the kids (and parents) start slapping up painted hearts on the tape. We occasionally shout "Kids are the 99%!" and "Banks got bailed out, schools got sold out!" and "Hey, Santa! Bloomberg's getting coal in his stocking this year, right?"

At some strange point, Person Who Seems to Know What Is Going On turns to the livestream guy and starts narrating. Remember those Drunk Santas? Well, it seems the City Hall Police were keeping such a good eye on us and our cute kids, they missed one of the Drunk Santas getting over/through/around their high security fence.

...All I saw was him being gently lead out, but he was already fifteen feet away from the fence at that point, and I'm pretty sure he hadn't traveled in a straight line.So... Drunk Santa 1, City Hall Police 0.

Fellow shy parent Carlos and I grabbed either end of the Children's Brigade banner and stood to the far end of the hearts, so passersby would know what was going on if they hadn't figured it out by the time they got to us. Older Son frolics.

We were there for at least twenty minutes, maybe longer, when one of the People Who Seem To Know What's Going On comes over and says, "Roll up the banner, roll it up," and I drop my end (Carlos had it well in hand) and locate Older Son and make sure he is in frantic grabbing distance.

Suddenly (and I cannot say whether he was taunted, ordered, or pushed, as I am always safely away from where the excitement is. It's the short legs, I need a good head start on the running away thing...) a cop comes over and starts ripping the hearts off the fence from the other side. It was so weird: it wasn't a careful removal, it *looked* violent, enough so that I held Older Son's head and pressed it to my chest in the other direction. I didn't want him to see an adult-- in uniform or not-- lose their temper like that.

It was very unpleasant. There is no way to stop them from doing what they want to do. And he wanted to rip the hearts down. But... he didn't finish the job. That was the other weird part. He started working his way down, and I put my hand up against the fence over a white paper heart, and he tore the tape and it ripped the heart in two... and then he stopped, a few feet past me, with half a heart in my hand. He turned away and marched over to his superiors and I don't know what happened next but I turned my back and started picking up the hearts that had fallen to the ground and tried to stick them to the bits of sticky dangling tape.

An angry dad shouted, "You made a little girl cry. Do you feel big now?" And I felt like crying, adult woman or not.

I don't understand. I don't understand why our small group was so dangerous that they missed a drunk Santa invasion. I don't understand why our paper hearts had to be torn up.

I picked up a small handful. I couldn't rescue them all.Then we got hotdogs and went home because there was nothing more we could do.

If you would like a heart, one of the 5,000, let me know and I'll send it  to you.

I don't want to be the only one who saves a heart today.


  1. Hi I was there at the event today and found your blog by searching for the lyrics from that wonderful song. :)

    Anyway, I'm also working on a story for the Occupy TV show that will air on Free Speech TV after Democracy Now. Would it be possible to get in touch with you or someone else from the event as a media contact? If we could get some photos (of the hearts for example) or video of the event in general that would be really great. Is there a way I can reach you or someone else from the organizing group on a back channel?

  2. I so wanted to come up for the Children's Assembly, but it just wasn't financially feasible right before Christmas.

    If you still have a paper heart available, we would display it proudly.

    - Jodi

  3. Walden: if it were me, I would go to the facebook page and leave a comment. They posted pics this morning and said a video was coming soon. I wasn't a part of organizing it, so I don't feel comfortable taking on the role of Media Contact. :*)

    Jodi: Awesome. Will send.

  4. Walden PS: is the site, i think...

  5. Thanks Alia... great to march with you and son again! Walden please contact our FB page and send us email with contact info... we will be releasing video today.

  6. Walden OWS Media has great film of the event and Cops ripping down the kid's Artwork Hearts. Contact info via here:

  7. Thanks for posting. I was also there, and was outraged at how violently that officer tore off those paper hearts. It was disgusting how they handled that, and unnecessary because it made that little girl cry. I too wanted to cry, it was simply heartless. Meanwhile the drunk Santas, many of whom were drinking in the street and climbing on the statues at the park were apparently in no violation of any laws..