Olive & I had an eventful morning of Tartine-eating, park-going (her, with her godfather) and priest-meeting (me), which wore her out enough to take a colossal morning nap. Olive naps on my chest, so while pinned down to the chair I pondered our wide-open afternoon. Still high off of our positive experience with the Occupy SF Solidarity March on Saturday, I checked out the Occupy SF website to see if there was anything going on that we could be a part of today. Lo and behold, there was a rally at 1:30pm at City Hall, to support the occupiers’ right to assemble in Justin Herman Plaza. So, I posted that we were going on the Families Occupy SF Facebook page and once Olive arose we gulped down our lunch and took to the streets.
And it was… weird. I had been reading some flack about the SF protestors on Facebook today — people saying that they are either all just white, skinny jean wearing, American Apparel shopping entitled jerks or vagrants. I thought “Not so! There were tons of families and people from all walks of life and styles of dress there on Saturday!” Also, the movement is what we make of it. Everyone I talk to is inspired by the occupiers and believes in the kinds of economic justice they are calling for, but today, the rally was… mostly crazy folks and vagrants, with a few humor-less idealistic college kids thrown in. There was one dude, dressed in a clown wig, who terrified Olive and kept yelling “Offense 99, Defense 99!” while waving pom-pons and jumping. Another guy kept trying to get his pit bull to “say hello to the babies!” No thanks, buddy. Admittedly, we got there a bit late (did I mention Olive’s giant nap?), but there were very few people there. They yelled, “We are the 99%!” but it was more like the 14%. And of course I managed to alienate the 2% of the 14% by saying something disparaging about Oakland. Good job, Rhea — way to know your crowd with your snobby SF humor.
There was, however, one AMAZING mom there. Homegirl had gotten herself up, made incredibly witty signs, strapped her adorable one-year-old son into a Red Flyer wagon, and braved piss-smelling BART elevators to get them down there. I can’t say enough about how awesome this lady was. She singlehandedly made my day. She recognized one of the police officers and took a picture with him, asking him to “look like you are sternly reprimanding my protesting baby”. He played along but changed it up, choosing to put his hands together in supplication, saying “Please be good, baby protestor.” Our babies played together, climbing up and down the steps of City Hall. There wasn’t much else to do — the protestors were mostly standing around, holding their banner, or passing out brownies that they “weren’t sure” the ingredients of.
Here’s the thing: the Occupy movement is REALLY taking off in California, as this graph from the New York Times shows:
But the movement is in its infancy, and it will be shaped by the folks who come out to these kinds of events. So, will I be back to support this burgeoning movement against corporate greed? You bet I will, but I’m not going without y’all. Next time, I will organize a bunch more families to come along with me — I can’t count on meeting a mom as kick-ass as the one who showed up today every time unless I do the footwork. So, who wants in, and is willing to check out an Occupy SF event with me sometime soon? Join the Facebook page or just comment here and let me know!