My afternoon with Occupy Grand Rapids

No bail money was needed at the Occupy Grand Rapids rally this past Saturday, coincidentally located at the tiny Monument Park across a busy street from the Grand Rapids Police Department.  A diverse group of about 30 fed-up people gathered to protest the state of our union and listen to scheduled speakers on topics such as consensus, the legal boundaries of local ordinances in regard to public assembly, and managing various media outlets.  There was an abundance of heart and rebellious attitude in the small group which grew in number as the afternoon wore on.  Several
folks held up signs along the sidewalk, others knelt on the grass listening to speakers, and spontaneous group discussions popped up as people introduced themselves to one another.  Vehicles driving by honked their passive support and a few passers-by yelled out, “Get a job!”  This is a fledgling movement that is in the early organizational stage, which is my way of saying that the Occupy Grand Rapids movement is in need of structure.
Although an organized structure is practical and I think essential, the Occupy movement was born out of frustration and anger, so it may take some time to create long-burning coals from the initial blaze.  Occupy Grand Rapids has a core group that have the potential of long-burning coals, but personal time constraints of even the most devoted highlight a need for a larger group of participants to assist with the organizational aspects.  Children must be cared for, work and college require participation, and personal relationships need attention.

This is all my opinion, on my blog, which is not a voice for the Occupy movement, but rather the voice of a woman in her 40’s musing on life’s changes in the 5th decade.  It
seems that the biggest challenge for this movement will be engaging people like me who want to fight for concrete changes, like campaign and financial institution reform, concepts that some Occupy demonstrators deem as working within The Broken System.  While the majority of Americans are not happy with the direction of our country, we know that a few steps in the right direction can affect our 401k balances, our children’s future, and our employment opportunities.  The 99% consists primarily of working middle and lower-class families who want the America we were raised on, that idealistic democratic model in which our interests are represented.   Perhaps that is a pipe dream, in which case our indoctrination was a huge mistake.


  1. David · October 25, 2011

    Kim, While it may seem that the Occupy Grand Rapids gatherings are somewhat lacking in structure and direction, I am heartened that the activity continues and that the day you report on included some impassioned speakers. In my opinion, the growing movements of energized people around the globe are calling attention to those who would subjugate us to their own purposes whether that be power, wealth, cheap labor…

    From “Why We Can’t Wait,” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A methodology and philosophy of revolution is neither born nor accepted overnight.”

    Good on ya’ for this post, Kim. ~David

  2. Mom · October 25, 2011

    I agree with what you are saying about OGR needing organization and more participants. The question; is it their job to engage us or our job to wake up and decide we are ready to take a risk by standing up in this ultra conservative town of ours? As the professor from GVSU said “99 is greater than 1”.

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