Although they live well-enough on Munjoy Hill, Jake Lowry and Amanda St. John are dedicated campers at Tent City in Lincoln Park – until things change for the better for the 99% who are victims of corporate greed – like that of Bank of America and other big banks and corporations.
Lowry, a former English major at USM, Portland, was drawn to the movement on Day 1 of the occupation. “I was drawn in because I could see that when people get together in solidarity and peace they can get things done,” he said earlier this afternoon as we sat on a sun-warmed bench at Lincoln Park, the site of Tent City for the OccupyMaine protestors. Lowry, 7 ft. tall and soft spoken, said he has put his education on hold to dedicate his energy to the cause against corporate greed – for the long haul. He spent several long-weekends at OccupyWall Street and plans on going to Washington, D.C. soon to join that movement. “The energy at Occupy WallStreet was absolutely amazing. It’s hard to duplicate what they have with so many people there, ” he said. “It’s like traveling from hostel to hostel. Very welcoming and the food is great.”
During the winter storm warning this past Saturday evening, Lowry served as security from 3 am to 7 am. The group’s primary goal of securing the permieter because of the recent unsolved bombing at Lincoln Park was overshadowed by the need to check on collapsing (summer, not winter) tents and shovelling snow. “I spent four hours shoveling snow. The peoples’ living room, a large tent, which was to contain the new library was destroyed in the winds and snow.” said Lowry, pointing to the location where the large open tent once stood.
Amanda St. John serves on the Library Committee and said the Committee is having to start from scratch to find a new location for the library. Contents for the library will come from a $500 anonymous donation to Longfellow Books from one of its customers to OccupyMaine. It has not yet been determined who will be able to purchase reading material from the popular bookstore and exactly how they will be displayed in the yet-to-be library. Some want the books displayed on traditional book shelves while there is a need to protect them from the up-coming winter weather said St. John. She became involved with OccupyMaine because following 9/11 she and her friends “lost our voice. The discourse shifted from talk of the environment and economic inequality to national security. Issues that I care about like the disinfranchisement of the 99% is back on the front burner St. John said. A graduate of Goddard College, Vt., St. John works for a local non-profit organization.
The First Parish Church Unitarian Universalist, 425 Congress Street, has given OccupyMaine permission to use its kitchen to prepare one hot meal as well as for kitchen clean-up purposes. The Tent City kitchen has been somewhat dysfunctional lately and food preparation needed to be moved elsewhere, temporarily.
One long-time volunteer in the OccupyMaine movement, Chris, said he was exhausted from the work of the movement, but intended to stay with it until there is still more change – whenever that comes. He did note, however, that for those who are wondering whether this movement is effective, Bank of America has already slightly altered its policy about credit card users fees and other large banks have backed down from the change entirely. “We must be doing something right,” he said managing a smile.
editor’s note: Seattle artist Duff Hendrickson created a handbill design to protest Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo in support of the “Move Your Money” campaign. Hendrickson donated it to Public Domain, so you are free to publish it, print it, put it on web sites. http://www.archive.org/details/MoveYourMoney
For more background, please visit Post # 1,003, datedd October 24, 2011 herein.