Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupied Grand Rapids

Occupy Grand Rapids camp at Ah-Nab-Awen

Couldn't have picked a nicer couple of days to occupy the space in front of the Ford Museum. The Press reports that hundreds came down Saturday for Occupy Grand Rapids, gathered at the Calder Plaza, and a group from there moved down to Ah-Nab-Awen Park and stayed overnight. They tell me the cops were cool with it, and they are planning to stay tonight as well. Good for them.

Grand Rapids as a whole isn't really an "occupying" kind of town. If the weather stays nice and there is some sort of advance announcement, I bet we could draw a good crowd for a day - but I can't see anyone taking over DeVos Place or something like that and waiting to get arrested. I also think this dies out here when the weather turns. It will be interesting to see what happens in New York when that happens too.

The Press tells us that 50 were there for a planning meeting today; by that time I was off wandering the streets of downtown to shoot more of ArtPrize and just enjoy walking on a warm day. When I came back through there hours later, the occupiers were off on a march with their signs and chants, reaching hundreds, if not thousands, that were downtown at that point.

What happens from here? I honestly don't know. MC reports they will Occupy Muskegon next Saturday; the Grand Rapids group indicated that they might make the trek down to Occupy Detroit later this month.

All I can say is: Keep on, keeping on people. Every little bit of publicity this gets is another drop of water on the rock, and that's the only way we are going to see change.

Maybe someday they will listen.


Update 10/10: Daily marches are planned through downtown, and the occupiers are planning to stay in the park for as long as it takes. The city has been oddly quiet about it so far; we will see if they will let it continue.

Later...: The city now says they have to go, as no overnight camping is allowed in city parks. The group says they have private property available to them, and will still conduct the marches.