Unoccupy The Plaza (Part II)
Were I left off was me in the library and the protesters getting ready to head off to the plaza.
The last time that the protest was at the library, after a bit they closed the library and I went out and watched the events that were going on. The police presence was a good size, but in a way really weren't needed except to handle traffic. When the protesters started marching off then, I had thought about following them, but someone in my head said to head on home. I am glad that I did, as by the time that I got home, things between the protesters and police had started to heat up...
Yesterday was different, as I came out of the library as they started marching off to the plaza, and I thought about going on home but something said to follow them. I knew that something was going to happen the last time, but this time I knew that things would be AOK if I followed the group and watched what went on. So I followed them. Now I didn't walk with them, but stayed about a block back. I figured that it anything happened up there, I would be able to turn around and head into another direction.
When I got about a block away, I noticed the number of press trucks and it was amazing the number of media trucks were from the same stations. I stood close to one of them, pulled out my camera as the reporter went on air, and had to laugh as I took the picture as another truck from her station drove by.
The more that I stood there, the more that I got the feeling that the press were really hoping that something would happen. It was like if they could of somehow gotten away with it, they would of had a riot going on in the streets. It was like they were out for blood. After standing there for a little bit, I decided to go across to the plaza where the crowd had gathered.
Even though there were a good number of Oakland Police around, I figured that people would of started to put tents back up and bring the encampment back, then then I noticed something. The odds that anyone putting up tents and/or sleeping on the grassy area was not going to happen. The city had flooded the area with water and the ground was soaking wet. There was no way that anybody was going to be sleeping there that night.
I continued to walk until I got to the area behind where people were speaking and found a clear place to stand. It was a nice spot with a really nice view. I don't know what it is about me at times, but for some reason it seems as though people will gravitate around me, then before I knew it a crowd had gathered around the area that I was in, with some people bumping me aside. As I stood there I also realized that the people around me were not paying any attention to the people who were at the mic. It was like they really didn't care about what was being said, but they wanted to have the ability to say that they were there.
I finally got tired of all of the people around me, and moved to the steps of City Hall which were behind me. There were just a few people on them, and I found a place that were nobody was and stood there. As more people came onto the steps, I would move over, then suddenly I found myself being shoved over by members of one of the local news crews who wanted to film there. I mean not even a request that I step tot he side, nor even an apology for what they did. Then I watched as other news crews would do the same elsewhere around to other people. How sad the press is.
They were on air, but the reporter started talking to a woman who was standing close by that he knew I think from other protest. The conversation was interesting, as they both brought up good points, but something happened that I found funny. The conversation had somehow moved to Blacks in Mississippi and whether they were better off now than before the Civil Rights era, and if Blacks are better off in this country today. I was amazed that I was the only Black standing close to them, but neither one bothered to ask me. Something happened which then really made me wonder about the Occupy Movement and what I had written in a previous blog, that being people being used for other causes that they have no relationship with.
Someone with a "Flip Cam" came over and started filming. He just came up and stepped in front of me and just held up his camera and filmed. What was interesting was the guy films the reporter as he did his report, then filmed a little more. Now there was a Oakland Cop who had been standing about 10 feet from me ever since I first came up. He was really cool and was having conversations with protesters who came up to him, where I noticed that with some of the other cops they really wouldn't take the time when people came up to them.
I watched the cop as he talked with some people who came up to him and it appeared to be a great conversation going on. It appeared to be a group of about 5 people, one of whom was filming as they would ask him questions, then I noticed that the number of people grew. They asked him questions, which he answered, and their was even laughter. Suddenly the guy that had stepped in front of me during the thing with the reporter, shoved his way with his camera through some people and started filming. The thing that blew my mind was that this guy just put his hand and camera in front of the other one. Someone said something to him, and the guy didn't move his hand. The cop just looked at him, and the guy moved his hand down, at which point the guy moved his hand down which brought cheers from the others. With the stuff that I see being reported, something like this is not reported in that some of the police and protesters actually have enjoyable conversations.
I stood around on the steps for a little while, then looked up to see that all of the helicopters had left, and people were filtering out and I figured that it was time to move on.
As I walked, I noticed that a number of people wearing things across there face and I realized that they were ones who were hoping that a confrontation would occur, but I knew in my heart that it wasn't going to happen. I walked up on what used to be a grassy area before the encampment took it over, and just shock my head. "Oh how much is this going to cost the city?" I began to wonder.
I heard a report that this has cost the city several million dollars. Now things are bad enough for the city as it is already, but now it is going to get worse. The city is going to have to find the money some somewhere, and sadly it will be the youth who will get hurt over it.
With less and less youth programs being offered by the city, I began to think that it would be really smart and nice for libraries to be open until later so that they have a place to go. I think that all local branches should be open until at least 8pm during the week, so those youth whose parents don't get ho9m until after 7 could have a safe place to be, and who knows, they may actually read and learn stuff that will help them in school. But with the money that the city has had to spend, I am sure that it will prevent that from happening. More programs at recreation centers will be cut, and so much more.
I think that it is time for the occupiers to realize that we all get the point and in many ways agree, but not only is it time for the 1% they are protesting against to do something, but it is time for ALL of us to do something. We have to get away from thinking that the government and others to do something, but in order for things to get better it will take all of us to do something. It's time for the Occupy encampments to close and for all of us to get to work.
So what is it that you will do to improve things for the future?