Friday, February 17, 2012

Wherein we incite a not-riot

I didn't write about the Occupy the DOE/PEP action, and now I can't remember why. ProtestKid and I brought pumpkin bread and pretzels and got a little lost but were taken under the wing of young people with homemade signs. We followed them up a hill and there was a large mass of people... staying on the opposite side of the street of the building where the meeting was happening.

I could tell they weren't Occupiers, because they weren't shouting towards cameras or comfortable standing casually in the middle of the street. We stood outside with our signs and wondered why we weren't going inside. (The article explains that the teacher's union was trying to hold a different meeting elsewhere.)

So I said, "Why aren't we going inside? I'm going inside, I want to sit down!" and the guy who took charge of the bag of pumpkin bread said, "Yeah, let's go inside!" and then suddenly the crowd around us went, "Yeah! Let's go inside!" and we were all going inside together.

Maybe it helped that by then we had wormed ourselves closer to the folks with the Occupy banner, but it did seem odd that so many other people were happy to just stand in the cold and shout at walls that weren't listening. Once a wave of us started to cross the street, the folks who had just been standing around moved as well.

We went in, we sat in the back near the aisle so we could leave if Protest Kid got overwhelmed (he did cry a little, when he got confused and thought they were going to close *his* school. the kid gets very passionate and easily confused. me, too.) and we human mic'd for the other folks who were more comfortable sitting in the back. The woman in front of me had a sweet and resonant voice and I encouraged her to human mic more in the future. And I shared my pretzels with her.

We saw several people from OccupyAstoria, which was cool. Astoria, represent! We left around 7:30, right before the awkward moment when the cops wouldn't let people back into the meeting, so we missed that excitement. Just as well, as Protest Kid gets passionate at cops sometimes, and that can be awkward.

But we had a good time shouting and waving our green cards in the air and I hope we will do more and bigger soon.

And tomorrow is a solidarity with Greece event. (Maybe I should make spanikopita?)

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