The spring and fall are usually my busiest work-travel seasons. I’ve just returned from such far flung places as Portland, OR and Paris. While on the road I’ve watched the explosion of “occupations” inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement (occupywallst.org, @occupywallst, facebook.com/occupywallst, #occupywallst, #OWS).
In our last newsletter I wrote about the rising tide of new applications we’ve been receiving at the RFC this year. I noted that this was not surprising given a number of factors, including the growing number of those arrested at protests in each year since Obama took office. I wrote:
I woke up at 4:00am one morning this week thinking about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. It was less than 24 hours after I learned that the New York City police had evicted all those camped in Zuccotti Park. OWS has been full of surprises, but why was I not shocked by the wave of evictions sweeping the country, and why had the initial spark of the September protest in that park set off a nationwide firestorm?
Last week I concluded a blog I wrote about the Occupy Wall Street movement with a modest proposal. I wrote:
2011 ushered in a new era of activism; although from the mainstream media’s perspective the wave of global protest didn’t crash upon our nation’s shores until the fall. Perhaps at the RFC we should have been aware of its impending arrival, because we noted an uptick in new applications starting at the beginning of the year. We weren’t swamped with requests from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement in 2011 because it was still in its infancy when our fall application deadline passed in early October.
This morning I read that an ardent member of the Occupy Los Angeles movement has been arrested and charged with lynching. You might think the protester, Sergio Ballesteros, attacked and hanged someone. After all, California’s anti-lynching law was designed to protect minority defendants in police custody from vigilante lynch-mobs.
We’ve just completed our Spring 2012 Granting Cycle at the RFC. We awarded over $185,000 to 69 families with 136 children in 23 states plus Puerto Rico. As is often the case the vast majority of our grants were “renewals” going to children who we are already aiding. This is in line with our objective of being a dependable source of multi-year support for those we help.
Tuesday’s online reporting services and television news, and Wednesday’s papers, were filled with reports of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and May Day demonstrations across the country and around the world. I am sure many of us are heartened by the continuing upsurge of resistance to the small minority of humanity whose greed and thirst for power is impoverishing the majority and despoiling our planet. But, of course, the 1% will do everything they can to retain their power and lifestyle.