Occupy Philly, Day 1: Occupation Gets Under Way; Protesters Ask for Donations
Small groups of protesters marched from Rittenhouse, Washington, Logan and Franklin Squares this morning to converge on City Hall, officially beginning the occupation of Philadelphia in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
The first general assembly should be getting under way as you read this. A march will be scheduled then for this evening, details of which have yet to be worked out as of post time.
The occupation—a planned camp-out to protest what occupiers call a culture of greed led by a political system controlled by the financial elite—will continue indefinitely. “We’ll be here until there will be an end—however long it takes until things change,” says Solomon Sofolawe, 25, from Fishtown, who is planning on camping at City Hall.
“Most people are dissatisfied with the way our society has been for a while,” says Shawn McMonigle, 24, also from Fishtown. He calls it modern-day colonialism: “It’d be nice if people weren’t dying for the comfort of some … We’ve been manipulated so long to be apathetic.”
Sofolawe and McMonigle said they and the occupiers were taking a stand in the Occupy movement in the name of peace, love and compassion, in recognition that many people in the world, in the country, and in Philadelphia suffer for the sake of the wealth of some. They say it’s not the political or economic system in isolation that’s the problem; it’s the individualism American culture breeds.
“This problem affects all of us. It doesn’t matter what you do. It’s a sound fact that we’re all inter-connected,” says Sofolawe.
“The interdependence isn’t spiritual hippie bullshit, or a socialist, or a communist thing. No matter how much money you make or the job you have, we’re not separate from you,” said McMonigle. “We’re not trying to force things on you. This culture was forced on us. But what I’d like is to stop people from hurting or affecting others. This whole culture is based upon psychologically conditioning people to think a certain way”—trends, partying, amassing wealth and ignoring the suffering of people who are “distant, yet so close.”
The occupation has yet to set up camp for the night, but the Security Committee is tentatively planning to organize “safe zones” for people to sleep. They want to work out the camping logistics this evening, around 8 p.m., to be sure that protesters don’t disturb homeless people who normally sleep at the plaza on the west side of City Hall.
Occupy Philly is also asking for donations for the following items, which can be delivered directly to City Hall: nonperishable food items, reusable plates, utensils, bowls, pots and pans, water coolers, paper, dish and cloth towels, fruit with skin (like oranges), plastic wrap, and tarps.
Occupy Philly is also asking any nonprofits to let them use their 501c3 status to be able to accept donations from supermarkets. Contact Gia B at 609-706-0118.