It's been a wild ride!
And certainly the twists and turns from my involvement with the Occupy movement have been among the wildest moments. So when I released the GioSafari Does NYC compilation album in celebration of my time here in the city, I was sure to include a (unreleased!) track of me performing my original music live at Zuccotti Park in the fall of 2011.
Just to give you an idea of the aforementioned twists and turns, here's a brief summary of my experiences, including just a handful of links to videos and blog posts from the past three years:
- I camped almost 24/7 the first week and though I began to occupy my own neighborhood after that, I still slept at the park every day for two more weeks, rain or shine (more often than not, it was rain!)
- I participated in countless General Assembly and working group meetings, marches, actions, and deeply impacting conversations
- I contributed my own music (songs, improvisation, noise) to the demonstrations, as well as videos, blog posts, and tweets
- I watched Jeff Mangum (of Neutral Milk Hotel) perform live at the park, even as I stood nearby with my own guitar
- I marched across the Brooklyn Bridge when 700+ protesters were arrested;
- I helped fend off NYPD on the first occasion that they threatened to take down the encampment at Zuccotti Park
- In November and December 2011, I visited a dozen other local occupations across the eastern US, sharing my music and solidarity
- Since my performance at Occupy Raleigh was recorded on video, I was able to release a live album with those recordings in Spring 2012
- Then in the summer of 2012, members of Occupy Raleigh contributed to my debut full-length album, Heliotropism, which also featured four songs that explicitly mentioned my experiences with the OWS
- I've participated in many more street and virtual actions with fellow Occupy activists and groups
Now the Occupy movement may seem quiet, but believe you me -- it's just been a slumbering giant which may be waking soon again. This very week, we'll see two significant demonstrations on behalf of our planet's climate -- the People's Climate March on Saturday and #FloodWallStreet demonstrations on Monday.
I encourage you all to join these events and be on the justicey side of history. We are still the 99%, we are a giant that can shake the countryside (hell, maybe even the skyscrapers of Wall Street) and we must wake up, if we're truly to work for peace and justice in our time.