Ambiguous UpSparkles From the Heart of the Park: Mic Check/Occupy Wall Street (Part 3) (November 2011)

This is the third post in this series. Read part one here and part two here.

It was cold in Zuccotti Park this week for our Ambiguous Upsparkles group. Particularly late into it as the sun went down and a wet Autumn wind rose up in the yellow orange trees from the bottom of Manhattan. It was cold and so we huddled together on the concrete steps for warmth, to make it easier to hear, to allow the stories to pass amongst us and through us. We repeated each line of each person’s story and the repeating kept us warm.

There was a core of us who stayed for the whole two hours. Many had been there before for each group, some new people stopped by, joined or listened or told a story and then moved on. At the height of the story telling there were hundreds leaning in. There was drumming in the distance, There were tents everywhere. There was a new large green tent just erected for women to make them safe as there had been a sexual assault during the week. There was talk before the group about the violence. Women were worried and they were clear. Things had to change. There was talk about safety and honoring women and listening to their concerns and making space for their voices. There was talk of how drunks and disturbed people were being intentionally sent to the park. There was talk of how the sexual violence was down played so it wouldn’t badly impact the movement. The older women activists were disturbed. This was a story they knew all too well from past movements, from past silences.