O15: what it means to Occupy Chicago

Tomorrow, October 15, 2012, marks the one-year anniversary of a day thousands of Occupiers in Chicago marched from Jackson and LaSalle to Congress and Michigan where they attempted to set up camp to demonstrate their committment to their mission and to the Occupy movement. As a result of the attempt, hundreds of demonstrators were arrested for staying in Grant Park after its closing hour of 11 p.m.

Chicago police in Grant Park. October 15, 2011. Photo by populacity on Flickr.

Coincidentally, September 27, nearly a year after the incident, it was ruled that the arrests were unconstitutional and violated protestors’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Occupy Chicago considered the dropped charges a major victory.

To celebrate this anniversary and the dropped charges, Occupy Chicago will have a speak out and march tomorrow at 6 p.m. from Jackson and LaSalle to Congress and Michigan, once again. At 7 p.m., the Overpass Light Brigade will assist Occupiers in raising light banners to celebrate “eviction resistance and home reclamation.” From 8-10 p.m., a free speech fest will be held with live music at the Bowman Horse statue.

This event is extremely important to the future of Occupy Chicago. Depending on how it is executed, it can potentially give the movement some much needed press coverage and rejuvenation. Often, the “sexier” stories for media include violence, arrests and the most drama. O15 needs to fit somewhere in between too safe and too risky. The message of Occupy Chicago doesn’t include provoking the police for the sake of provocation or violence, in any circumstance. It also doesn’t include just sitting around talking about how change can happen. It calls for peaceful, meaningful action.

The objective of Occupy Chicago was never to get as much press coverage as possible, but at the point the movement is at right now, teetering between reignition and flying off the radar, it needs to be as visible as possible. Its target potential activists, members of the 99%, are often hard working individuals who may feel strongly about the movment’s message but who are deterred by the possibility of being dragged into radical action in the movement or by the time commitment. In order to fully organize, the movement needs to host more large-scale evening events that provoke people to think and respond by wanting to get involved.

If you are planning on protesting tomorrow, remember your rights, and be safe.

P.S. Occupy Chicago revamped its website. Could this mean it’s time for change?

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