The Occupy Wall Street movement is now in it’s 10th official month of existence, although similar sentiments and actions have existed for many years. Despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, the movement did not die over the winter months. Although 99% protesters faced police brutality, wrongful arrests, intense cold, and public criticism, they have not given up the fight. Online and on the streets, the persecution has only made them stronger in their resolve to expose government corruption, hold corporate criminals accountable, and support their struggling friends and neighbors in any way possible.
This being an election year, with Independence Day fast approaching, Occupiers from around the nation realized that they needed to hold a big family meeting to talk about how we should tackle the challenges ahead. Thus, the idea for the Occupy National Gathering was born.
Since June 30th, members of local occupations all over the country have been arriving in Philadelphia for Occupy National Gathering. Participants will gather in the vicinity of Philadelphia’s Independence Mall for a week of direct actions, movement building and the creation of a vision for a democratic future. The National Gathering kicked off with a massive march with Healthcare-Now! in solidarity with their fight for the right to health. On July 5th it will conclude by joining Guitarmy for a 99 mile march from Philadelphia to Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
It’s important to point out that while it’s taking place in the same city, the Occupy National Gathering is separate and different from the the 99% Declaration affinity group that caused some controversy among the Occupy Movement. Most importantly, the National Gathering was planned from the ground up for and by members of the Occupy Movement, and all decisions were made completely through an open democratic process.
Care2 blogger Megan Drake has been on the ground in Philly, talking with protesters and photographing this unprecedented showing of peace and solidarity among the global 99%. Take a few moments to click through the following slideshow images, and if you’re in the area, think about heading to the National Gathering to experience it for yourself.
All Images Copyright Megan Drake
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