Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks to the #Occupy community (and last minute requests)

I personally feel that my life changed to a great degree since the Occupation began in Portland, on October 6, and on that day when I became part of this very amazing community.  Last night during the General Assembly, there was a discussion over the benefits of having a physical, central encampment -- as opposed to the current state of affairs -- with the centralized concentration of committed people willing to get involved, places ready to use for any meeting, and the sheer concentration of energy, the Occupation was a very good place to get anything started.

In my life before the Occupation, I had many great ideas -- or that I thought -- but the biggest obstacle was to get people interested in the ideas and recruit enough members or supporters.  For years I got ideas but nothing was implemented.

When I started with this idea of having a chaplains' group, somewhat inspired by the Protest Chaplains in Boston, but with a much wider and more diverse base -- all what I did was to make two hand-written notes and posted one at the library and another at the information.  Within days there was already a group of eight fired-up people and soon we were having three to five services in any given week.  This group had grown to 19 members, plus cooperation and support from three churches in the area.

And much of our success came from the fact that in the midst of the Occupation, we had visibility and exposure to traffic.  Many people just stopped by.

Another great thing about the #Occupy movement is its blend of free-wheeling anarchism that values individual initiatives (instead of beating them down with rivalry, cliquishness and bureaucracy) and its spirit of collectivist collaboration.  Much of what happens in this movement is decentralized and started by one person or a small group of people -- yet the whole community somehow gets the word of it in a very short time and become part of it.

This is also happening today on this Thanksgiving.  I hoped that today we re-capture the sparks of the #Occupy community we generated back in our ancestral land (yes, now I feel like these parks are the ancestral land of #OccupyPortland).  I have been so far amazed by the level of support from the community, although today's event has never been technically speaking an #OccupyPortland event.  The OP media team has been widely promoting today's festivities, and some random people have (not me or anyone from the IGC!) been announcing the event in the GA and Spokes Council throughout this week.  And I have received a phone call informing me that the OP kitchen team is apparently telling people to direct food donations to our Thanksgiving event today at the Wallace Park.  So things are happening and balls are rolling with a very minimal effort on my side.  For all this, I would like to give thanks.

This also leads me to put out a number of last-minute requests:

  1. We have no capacity for cooking at the park.  If there is anyone from Food Not Bombs or OP Kitchen Team who can pick up any items that we cannot really use at today's event, you would be appreciated much.
  2. Potentially we may have a large people turn out and potentially we may have plenty of food.  Please take any leftovers with you, so we can minimize the waste.
  3. We may need plates, silverware, etc.  While practicality dictates that, most likely, disposable ones would become necessary, if anyone within a walking distance of the Wallace Park with a kitchen (does not have to be big, or commercial -- a typical apartment kitchen would do), we can have a few volunteers shuttle reusable items back and forth for washing and reusing.
  4. The weather report today says this afternoon could potentially become nasty.  It may be a good idea to have a *clean* tarp to cover the food and table if needed, to keep them out of the weather and elements as much as possible.

Sarah Morrigan
Program Coordinator
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains


  1. Sarah-I have been trying to reach you by email. The that you have on the other page is not working today. Do you have another and can you post it so you are reachable? Thanks.

  2. Hm. I just paid my domain name bill, this year totally on time (like, 2 weeks ahead of the expiration date). Yet, it seems like DNS is messed up today.

    Go to for now. Thanks.