November 11, 2011
The Day 37 of the Occupation is upon us, and the City of Portland's stated endgame time of 12:01 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 13 is approaching. To look from another angle, we have one and a half days to occupy, to say the least, and we ought to make the best of the time left. This is a time to get fired up and bring more people to the Occupation, especially those who have never been there.
The City tried to divide and polarize the movement, hoping that we would scapegoat and reproduce the 1 Percent's oppression of the unhoused people and street youth. This was a very heated issue within our community too, but ultimately we rejected this idea that some people do not belong to our movement community, and some people are not deserving of our inclusion into our community as equal members.
Instead, for the past 36 days, we have created a safer space to sleep out of rain, wind and elements, that is accessible around-the-clock, provided everyone with food and "community needs," as well as basic healthcare from the medical and wellness tents, and more importantly, a community and place for voicing their opinions and engaged in a participatory collective process.
When the politicians, bureaucrats, mass media smear campaigns, and big business interests tried us to stop this from continuing, most of you voiced a resounding no. The General Assembly upheld the collective no to injustice, prejudice, classist oppression and discrimination, and placed humanity and human needs before political expediency.
You are the conscience of Portland.
Each of you is the conscience that collectively coalesces into the worldwide #Occupy movement, which is the new, emerging conscience of the planet earth. The #Occupy movement is more than economic and political; it is also a spiritual and social movement.
I am proud of all of you for occupying in solidarity for 38 days.
You have exercised the rights enshrined in the Oregon Constitution article 1, section 3, the rights to conscience. This conscience spoke against greed, concentration of powers into the Institution, and against all forms of oppression.
You are the conscience of Portland and of the world.
I salute you. Thank you.
As we prepare for the big night at which the entire world watches, just pause and recall our many, many achievements and accomplishments so far. How far have we come. I remember the first night, and how fast we had developed into a functional village-within-a-city. We have helped end big bank greed. We have awoken and raised the consciousness of thousands and thousands of Portlanders from all walks of life.
The last five weeks have been among the most meaningful experiences in my entire life. I have learned and grown so much -- this reclusive introvert, who generally lived in her own brain and kept to herself, found herself loudly mic-checking in the General Assembly several times in one day. I learned a great deal about organizing, community-building and leadership in a way no one could in classrooms or books. Many, many times I have also discovered my own hidden prejudice and actively made actions to counter it. You all taught me very well.
I am proud of all of you.
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.