Saturday, July 20, 2013

The occupation is over


The Occupy West-Park Coop T-shirt

At West-Park, Jamie has just led another group on a tour. Sigh.

I talk to Jamie and Danielle about the screening last night. How I was in the lobby, having a glass of wine, thinking the people around me looked familiar. Then I realized, it was most of the surviving cast members of the Sopranos. Mostly looking like people you’d see at the Gate. Or maybe Carmine’s. So you do the New York thing, act like you’ve been there before. That’s what we do. Neighbors, that’s all. The film was based on a Pete Hamill story and directed by Bob Giraldi starring Steve Schirripa and Boris McGuyver. 
Steve Schirripa, Boris McGuyver, Bob Giraldi at the screening

As I’m finishing the story, RL walks in. Introduced to Jamie. Max, Jamie’s son will soon be working for RL. Massive clean up ahead. 

I check my text messages. As of 3:40 AM, Christopher has moved out. Looking for a permanent job. Place to stay. The last of the occupiers has finally left. 

Karen is in the sanctuary, playing her music. 

After 604 days, the Occupation of West-Park is over.

             * * * * 

Occupy lasted at West-Park longer than Zucotti. From the first emergency four in November to the two dozen who came in from the rain to the massive invasion in January.

The baptismal font incident that was spread around wherever Murdoch touches. And the amends. And the first exodus. Then the construction of the intentional cooperative community and the t-shirt production. The the end of the coop. The final four. And then one.

For awhile we hosted the chaotic democratic experiment of the spokescouncil. And the Occupy Town Square. And the amazing Occupocalypse production by the multi talented Kanaska Carter with it’s recreation of Liberty Square and Zucotti including a reproduction of Calder’s Joie de vivre conceived by Kanaska and executed by famous Soho sculptor Forrest Meyer. We were the location of the post M17 San Patricio party with Irish and Mexican bands. The takeoff point for the Mayday buses to Chicago. And the National Nurses Union free clinic. 

Over the time we were visited by Michael Moore. Rosario Dawson. Ben and Jerry. Fulbright winner and Woman and War project photographer Elizabeth Herman and her stunning portraits. Portland singer song-writer Catherine Feeny. A crew of volunteer chaplains from Union Seminary. Multiple visits by the NYPD. The FBI. And as it turns out some undercover Homeland Security intel plants.

Our occupiers were witnesses for a gay wedding for two guys from Alabama. Support staff for a symphony concert. Security for Cornell West. 

They brought Jamie here. And Cara. And Stephen and Teddy joined. And Teddy became our sextant. And died. And Stephen got ordained and Cara became a member. 


Jason and others have become part of New York City and are engaged in ongoing social change work and even electoral politics.
Another Jason got a tech job.
Jay is in college in Colorado.
George and Amin embedded themselves in Staten Island and worked arm in arm with retired police and fire in Occupy Sandy.
Kakaska is a tattoo artist, body artist, recording artist and model.
Rafael is doing security and living in a beach house in Baja California.
Dan is a chef in Colorado.
Rose and Requiem went to the Berkshires and had a baby.
Chris and Runi back home to Portland.
Others went to their homes. Some to squats. Or the piers. Or disappeared in the homeless/addiction/mental illness underground. 

What remains? Memories. A beautiful ceramic baptismal font cover by Sheryl Jaffe. Zejko’s short film of Teddy. Elizabeth’s portraits. Stephen’s leadership. Jamie’s presence and support. A t-shirt or two.

What have we learned? That’s another reflection.

After 604 days, the Occupation is over. 

                                            * * * * 

Going down 86th late at night,  I see the wheel chair, and know Sean is there tucked in against the wall. My heart sinks.