On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at noon, Occupy Oakland activists will retake Frank Ogawa a.k.a. Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland with a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week vigil. Occupiers hope to create a model for a new wave of “Occupation” protest throughout the United States.
With the vigil, Occupiers will continue asserting rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution to assemble, speak, and petition government for redress of grievances. The vigil is not the product of a bargain with Mayor Quan, nor is it negotiated with law enforcement–permission from the city is not required to exercise these constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The structures in the plaza will be symbolic and part of the vigil protest. They will remind the public of the former Occupy camp and historic struggles of the indigenous peoples in the U.S.; homeless workers in Hoovervilles during the Great Depression; the “Bonus March” to Washington D.C. by unpaid and unemployed veterans in 1932; Resurrection City following the assassination of Martin Luther King; the AIDS vigil of 1980s San Francisco; and the redwood occupations of Judi Bari and Running Wolf.
Occupy Oakland continues its occupation because residents of Oakland and across the US are still fighting for food, shelter, medical care, school, childcare, and other necessities. The 1% enjoy 40% of U.S. wealth and 50% ownership of Wall Street stocks and bonds. The bottom 80% split 7% of the former and just 5% of the latter. The average 35-year-old in the 99% has a net worth less than $3,000.00. Occupiers ask the public to consider, “How long does it take an unemployed member of the 99% to go through $3,000.00 and become homeless?” In Oakland, the unemployment rate is nearly double that of the national average. These are issues of crucial relevance to our city.
Occupy Oakland’s vigil declares, “If the 1% won’t share voluntarily through a sense of morality and concern for the well-being of all, then through protest and direct action, we will force change! Occupy the Plaza! De-colonize the 99%!”
Occupy Oakland will have sign-up sheets starting Tuesday at 11 am. at the Plaza, but sign up is not a prerequisite for participation in the vigil. Supporters are encouraged to come out day or night to participate. The Plaza is fully accessible to the differently-abled.