Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 47 / 20 November 2014
 

Occupy events planned for weekend

At least two Bay Area Occupy movements are planning events for Satruday, December 17.

In San Francisco, Occupy the Castro will run from 12 to 2 p.m. at Harvey Milk Plaza, at Castro and Market streets.

Saturday marks the three-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street’s launch, and Castro organizers will mark the occasion with their first general assembly to formally discuss plans. A wall of paper for comments, artwork, and political demands will be available.

On their Facebook page, those planning the event expressed dissatisfaction with business groups and others representing the largely gay neighborhood in regards to housing and other issues.

“Those institutions need to understand they do not own our gayborhood and that we are tired of being left out of the decision-making process regarding public spaces and policies,” organizers said.

They added, “Bring your anger, creative ideas, political acumen, posters expressing your demands, a couple of friends and pitch in to make the Castro’s initial General Assembly fabulous.”

The event will also include a moment of silence for Pedro Villamor Jr., 44, a homeless man who died in a doorway near 532 Castro Street on Thursday, December 8. Police have said there were no signs of foul play in his death.

“There’s got to be an awareness in our community about economic justice,” Occupy organizer and longtime gay activist Tommi Avicoli Mecca said in an interview. Disparities between “the wealthy and the rest of us” affect LGBTs just like they do anyone else, he said.

“The death of this man in the Castro really, really hits it home,” Avicoli Mecca said. “The point is that we need to be taking care of each other the way we did in the 80s, in the AIDS crisis.”

Redwood City

In Redwood City, about half an hour south of San Francisco, another Occupy event is planned for Saturday.

Beginning at 10 a.m. at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway Street, Occupy Redwood City  will lead a “Tour of Shame” march addressing the city’s largest banks. The tour aims to “hold banks accountable for their role in the financial crisis and to educate the public on banks’ crimes,” organizers said in a statement.

Paige Scott, an Occupy Redwood City participant, stated, “We want to empower people with information and let them know that there are viable alternatives to big banks, such as credit unions and small community banks.”

The group’s complaints about banks include “rampant” foreclosures and misuse of bailout funds, organizers said.

The event isn’t specifically LGBT-related, but Occupy Redwood City spokesman James Lee said there are connections, and they’re not just related to banks.

“For LGBT people in particular, we’ve seen with [the Obama] administration that no matter which of the two major parties you put into power in the White House, change doesn’t happen from the top down,” said Lee, who’s gay. “It’s becoming ever more apparent that it has to be from the bottom up.”

Lee’s grievances with the President include Obama’s refusal to support same-sex marriage and his lack of action in protecting LGBTs from employment discrimination.

But “Personally, I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed,” Lee said. “… I didn’t vote for him in the first place.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 16, 2011 @ 8:25 pm PST
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