By Gryphon MacThoy
Shortly after 5:00 PM on Saturday, Oct 29 2011, Occupy Seattle relocated their encampment from Westlake Park in Downtown Seattle to the South Lawn of Seattle Central Community College. Amid changing attitudes from SCCC Administration, bolstered by overwhelming support from the American Federation of Teachers and students at SCCC, the General Assembly of Occupy Seattle marched east on Pike Street, north on Broadway, and crossed Pine Street to enter the SCCC Plaza and South Lawn.
In a letter to the Campus Community on Friday Oct 28, SCCC President Killpatrick said, “While I remain concerned about a host of possible adverse impacts (personal safety, financial impact, etc.), the WAC [Washington Administrative Code], as it is currently written, allows this occupation to take place. Occupy Seattle has assured me that they will not interfere with the mission of Seattle Central Community College…” In a letter sent minutes later to Faculty, he writes,”Just to clarify, the college is committed to defending the right to free expression and thought. The AFT-Seattle can express formal or informal support to the group. Regardless of the position that AFT might take, however, as a state institution we cannot give state resources without compensation. We are forbidden by law to volunteer college resources to promote or support any mission other than educating our students.”
After consideration of these opinions and issues, the leadership and General Assembly of Occupy Seattle elected to proceed with the relocation of the main encampment. On-the-spot opinions expressed by many in the crowd indicated a willingness to do whatever it takes to offset SCCC Administration’s concerns. Security officials at SCCC seemed ambivalent, even reservedly supportive of the Occupation, even as they spoke about the need to make sure everyone remains safe and avoids aggravating a neighborhood that already has enough trouble with the occasionally angry drunk or other common troubles of the area.
Luckily, the weather was dry. The entire event was lit by one of Seattle’s legendarily beautiful sunsets of purple and orange. A band made of a tuba, saxophone, and percussionists journeyed with Occupy Seattle, dancers in close pursuit. Still, traffic seemed irritated by the sudden parade, even though the interruption only lasted a few minutes at each intersection as the crowd moved along.
The following video captures the Occupiers entry onto the Plaza, a couple of speeches by supporters, and other scenes of the evening. Of importance to this event is that it coincided with the big Halloween Night on Capital Hill, when many people were already out in costumes to have fun …
Further speeches voiced thanks and support for the interests of college faculty and students. Reminders to use the South Lawn gently were tied to trees and lamp posts around the area. The food tent, provided donated food from Food Not Bombs, started feeding the gathered assembly with fresh fruits and vegetables, and simple cheese pizzas. The food tent accepts donations at any time, in food, cash, or work.
Anyone who wants to find out what the Occupy Movement is about can stop by any time for a conversation with just about anyone at the encampment.
Ben R. says:
Maybe Occupy Portland could move to PCC’s campus near downtown Portland. I was frustrated with the behavior of some of the protestors at Jamison Square early Sunday morning.