As I sit here staring at my computer knowing there’s so much I need to be doing. So much work to catch up on, so much planning to be done for the next few months, cleaning my house which is more of a mess than it’s ever been, just SO MUCH.
This will be my last OWS post for sometime, I do think it was very important for me to write about this all on here even if it’s my “baby blog” to give G a sense of her mother during this historic time. Yet, I need to get my life back to a healthy balance for the family and my work.
I almost feel like my mind has been fried. In two short weeks I managed to not only make something amazing happen but also fill a hole in myself I always knew was there. I feel like everything I’ve done over the past two weeks I was put here to do and I’m so thankful and still slightly in shock over it all.
The sleep over went unbelievably amazing. It was a ton of work. Seems as everyday we got closer the busier I got. My phone was a constant string of press calls, I was doing interviews late into the night and ungodly early mornings. Every little detail seemed to take 15 people involved to make it happen. Charity based events are so different then others. People want to help but there’s always that fear if they will come through….and let me tell you these parents more than came through, they are rock stars.
I headed down to OWS 10am on Friday. I was instantly offered a team of volunteers who rocked the entire set up process, it’s hard to “section off” an area in a public park, especially one that is filled with a couple thousand people. There were a few issues with the space but nothing that got in the way of the event. OWS really came through for us finding last min ground covering and great yellow rope to use on the area, once we got the banner up and the bright security shirts handed out I was really proud of how impressive the area looked.
By 1pm it was again a storm of interviews, meeting people I’ve only spoken to online, trying to keep up with my phone while organizing the donations for the evening. But, that was a cake walk come 3pm. Parents started showing up, and showing up fast. CNN showed up and the wonderful man shooting a documentary on the event rolled in with his assistant. This moment on for me was a blur. I must have called over 20 mic checks that evening alone, I still don’t have a voice.
Considering there were 1,000 of people in the park we didn’t have too many issues getting people to respect the “kids zone” but there were still a couple jerks we had to ask to leave (sometimes more than once). Most of the people I had issues with were the press, FOX tossed a fit and went on a cursing rant in front of children because I wouldn’t let them into the space, it was quite a sight.
My favorite moment I think of the night, and not because it’s conflictive but because it was a real example of the power we parents have when we join our voices was when a press woman flat out told me she was not going to listen to anything I was saying and was going to help herself talking to any children she wanted while starting to zoom past me. Without a moments hesitation I called a mic check, which for those of you not involved directly with the rally, this is the form of legal “amplification” you can use in the park. basically you yell mic check, everyone around you yells it back, then you play a back and forth game so even people a distance from you can hear what you’re saying because it’s repeated by the group. I called my mic check and said “this woman from the press is not respecting the children’s space”…..hearing that repeated by what must have been 200 parents at the time was really really powerful. Needless to say the woman jumped out into the crowed and ran away. Again I don’t like that this was a conflictive moment but the example of what we can do as parents is really really cool.
The first couple hours were full of crafts, drumming, and new friends being made between everyone.
By the time 6pm rolled around we were packed, there was a consistent line of parents and children and the area we had marked off was over capacity. I was a little panicky we may not have enough space the entire night. But, I soon learned many had come for Dan Zane’s performance. While I didn’t catch too much of it myself everyone seemed to love it and the band was glowing.
I was happy after Dan performed to see some of the families clear out, again I was worried what would we have done if EVERYONE (as in 500+ people) were to have stayed over? We would have easily taken over half of Zuccotti Park with just our group!
After a little bit of a wait and much more clearing out the pizza eventually arrived as the sun began to set on lower manhattan. I managed to have some food with G and take a moments breather. The way I was on go-go-go I can only describe as being in a hours long aerobic class, I think others saw this too because a trend of parents asking me if I was OK started the later in the evening it got. I’m proud to say though working in theater then in the music industry has really prepared me for events like this, it can get stressful being the center point but I do enjoy it.
We did have more events planned into the evening but the GA started up right beside our group so after cupcakes everyone started to settle in and find there places for the night, some children were so worn out from the excitement they went to sleep early.
It was SO cool to see 80 parents and kids all cuddled up camping style, strangers next to one another, all for the same cause….all for the kids. These images will stay with me forever. Wonderful parents volunteers stepped up to help keep the area safe through the night. We also had the OWS security help with the area there was technically two circles of protection around the kids.
(The ONLY photo I got of G that night….booooo tucked away in her sleeping bag and tent)
We did have a couple little issues, one drunk idiot wandered over singing “God Bless America” at 3 am towards the area we were in but he was quickly removed. Then the guy who climbed the statue right in the area in front of us. One of our parents actually tried to grab the guys leg as he was going up but got there 1 second too late of pulling him down. The crazy thing about this? The cops watched AS the man climbed the sculpture! They said and did nothing. I’m not going to get into my conspiracy theory issues on here now but to say the least how everything went down it was just as questionable as last weekends “cleanup” being called during our first planned sleep over.
Over all the press around the event has been good except for a few articles all written by the people I tossed out of the kids area at one point or another (surprise surprise). Get this….FOX wont let any of the parents or people involved comment on their website on the piece they did about us they are only publishing the negative comments!?!
We did have to wake the kids up and move everyone back away from the sculpture but we didn’t have to leave. At that point with waking the kids up most did bounce but a handful of us remained.
Over all and the reason I think my mind is still so fried from this event even though it’s Monday is how my perspective on SO much has changed within two weeks. I know now REALLY to not trust anything we see in the media also how different the US media is compared to the world. I did more interviews for over seas than I did for the US. FOX even used CNN’s video footage because they didn’t care about the kids till they could spin it poorly because of one guys (the climber) bad actions (at 5am it was too late to get any wake footage of us!). There’s even some posts saying there was a roll of duct tape tossed into the family area when actually it was being tossed to Mark from another mom……I will never watch or read the news again without a grain of salt, it’s actually kind of scary. But, it’s a good lesson for me to learn how to deal with this all….I’m taking it moment to moment literally because there’s a big part of me that wants to step up and be like NO! NO! NO! you’re WRONG! but that’s just what they want…..rock and a damn hard place.
I’ll never forget what someone told me when I was much younger working on my first company, “you know you’re doing something good when you’re pissing someone off”. As I’ve had my successes in life I’m starting to realize how true this is. You can’t make everyone happy and if you are it just means you’re not doing anything at all.
(G’s new protester BFF)
I also look differently on human nature somewhat now too. We came together as parents and we did something amazing within a short amount of time. I found it extremely interesting to see that even though all these parents are strangers some stepped up and acted as leaders while others enjoyed more to take part in the event. There’s so much to be learned about democracy even from this one evening. I’ve personally learned SO much.
I’m very hopeful for what the future of Parents for Occupy Wall St. will be, again there’s power in numbers now we need to see it that the power gets harnessed in the right way for the right kind of change.
There were SO many parents and volunteers to thank who made this possible! (I’m sorry if I forget anyone)
Brei!!!!! (Cucumberpress.com) SERIOUSLY if it wasn’t for this girl there would be NO brand to any of this….then where would we be?
Andy - Facilitation
Jillian - Outreach
Melissa - Outreach
Two other AWESOME helpers (grrr I’m bad with names!)
The great PR team!
-My husband Mark for making this SO much easier and taking care of me while I took care of the event
Sherilyn for working SO hard at getting the press out there, you’re AWESOME!
Rivka for you continued support from day one!
Abe for stepping up and manning the security
Rachel and team for getting the social media zooming
Kathleen for taking care of the food with such grace!!!! OMG who made those cupcakes?! Not gonna lie I grabbed like 3….
All the lovely parents who ran out to grab supplies and such! Name badge ladies you are awesome!
All the parents that sacrificed sleep to take turns (or stayed up the whole night) to make sure everyone was safe!!!!! GO neon shirts!!!!
Mark’s Pizza for the food!
CNN & Dana for believing in us and capturing the REAL story!
I’m sure there’s people I’m forgetting and amazing moments pushed out of my brain by the lack of sleep but really I have to say a big thank you to EVERYONE who supported even if it was by showing up for a few mins, to doing internet work from your far away home, or helping spread the word to your friends. This movement is about just this community even among strangers. We did amazing thing Friday and set the bar high for many other events and I’m so proud of us all! This is only the beginning.