Occupy Grand Rapids – Day 3
Following the model that started in New York, Occupy Grand Rapids began on Saturday with a meeting at the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.
About 300 people showed up to the first General Assembly meeting, where proposals were put forth, ideas shared and action steps were discussed in a consensus process.
People eventually decided to march through downtown Grand Rapids, since many people were walking about for the final days of ArtPrize. The group made its way to the Ah Nah Awen Park and decided to occupy space near the Ford Museum.
Over the next few days General Assembly meetings were held twice a day with some meetings involving over a hundred people. At times the consensus process seemed to struggle, in part due to the newness for many people and because of the size.
Lots of issues have been raised at these meetings and much of what has been discussed has been posted online at http://occupygrandrapids.wikispaces.com/.
There have also been a few skill share workshops offered for people, such as a Know Your Rights session that was held on Sunday, which provided people basic information on how to deal with cops.
On Monday, some members of the group decided to have a march in downtown Grand Rapids in the late afternoon with the intent of reaching out to more people. About 30 people marched for an hour, chanting and handing out flyers to people. At one point the group was chanting, “Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out,” and a young man sitting on a park bench said to his friend, “They are pissed off about the taxpayer money the banks got. We got nothing. We just got screwed.”
During the 6pm General Assembly meeting there was word that the City would not allow the group to be at the park overnight, which was later confirmed when police showed up to tell everyone they had to leave. According to information on facebook the Occupy Grand Rapids group is not going to spend the night at the park, but will continue to hold meetings at both noon and 6pm at Ah Nah Awen Park until another location can be secured.