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Occupy Harrisburg Continues With Help from the Occupy Supply Fund and the Society of Friends!

With the assistance of the Occupy Supply Fund and the Harrisburg Society of Friends [Quakers], Occupy Harrisburg continues to make a stand for social and economic justice right where it all began on October 15, 2011: at the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.  Occupy Harrisburg has been through a great deal in the past 100 days, and this entry will sum up the major actions and activities, which I meant to post well before now.

First, all of us at Occupy Harrisburg want to extend a huge THANK YOU! to Jane Hamsher, Steve C. and the Occupy Supply Fund for the incredible generosity shown to us.  The donations have been overwhelming and have helped us persevere in the toughest weather conditions.  Recently, Occupy Harrisburg received a second round of donations including full-body, cold-weather suits.  These went to our stalwarts at the steps and were graciously received.  Be assured that they have been put to good, and continuous, use since their arrival.  We cannot express the deep sense of gratitude to all of the donors at the Occupy Supply Fund for their continuing support these past several weeks.  Thank you, again!!

Second, Occupy Harrisburg owes a deep debt of gratitude to The Society of Friends, those are the wonderful people some of you may know as Quakers.  “The Friends” would no doubt be embarrassed by this outpouring of thankfulness, as they are people who do their work quietly, without fanfare, and who seek only to provide good in the world.  Still, I must thank them publicly, because they have provided us shelter for our General Assemblies (inside their Meeting House), have provided us with a kitchen and storage area (again, at their Meeting House) and have, in effect, joined our cause and our community.  We cannot thank them enough either.  Thank you so much!!

I said previously that I wanted to sum up a few of our more significant events because I have not blogged about Occupy Harrisburg in some time.  In fact, it is well past time that I do so.  Back in November, we established a camp at Riverfront Park in Harrisburg, but it was to be short-lived.  In less than two weeks, the Harrisburg City Police came and forcefully removed the tents, using knives to cut the tent material and forcibly evict the Occupiers.  The knives narrowly missed a couple of people inside one of the larger tents.  The City did this eviction with only two (2) hours notice, after promising us that the tents would NOT be a problem.  They also chose the time of this assault very well.  They did it while many of our Occupiers were inside the Capitol Building disrupting a hearing on the proposed redistricting plan for Pennsylvania.

But, that is not all that happened in the past 100 days at the steps.  We participated in the Move Your Money day and the National “Buy Nothing” Day, as well.  The latter event involved a protest at the suburban Capital City Mall where our Occupiers dressed as zombies and chanted, “Buy….buy….buy.  Must buy stuff.”  This resulted in an arrest of one of our protesters, whose only crime was asking for clarification of a supposed policy which said that people are “not permitted to wear make up” while on mall property.  Using logic her “Occulogic”, she asked why they weren’t arresting every woman in the mall?  She never did get clarity on the policy as to why her zombie make up was not allowable, but someone wearing L’Oreal was just fine.  That Occupier, by the way, is named Jen and she is a mother of four children who came to point out the folly of making the holidays into a shopping-fest.  This is, we believe, yet another case of free speech being quashed.

Occupy Harrisburg also stood with Satori Farm owner Steve Conklin and his family during the threatened eviction from their farm.  The family includes Steve’s 84-year old father, Steve’s wife and children and two cats and a goat.  The group served as witnesses to the unfair proceedings and called attention to the lack of due process afforded the Conkins during their battle with EMC Corporation.  A couple of years ago, EMC was forced to settle charges of illegal mortgage fees and improper foreclosures with 86,000 people at the cost of $28 million.  We continue this battle to defend the defenseless being thrown from their homes unfairly.

More recently, Occupy Harrisburg held a rally and protest against the continuing strong-arm tactics of the Oakland Police Department on Occupy Oakland.  The candlelight vigil was held last Sunday at 7 PM and was followed by a march to City Hall and back.  Nearly 40 people rallied and marched on a sleepy Sunday evening in the Capital City.  It was a good showing and definitely got attention, even briefly making the WGAL Channel 8 newscast at 11 PM.

So what’s in the works for the future?  Let’s just say that very soon, there will be a large outdoor theater event designed to capture the attention of all Pennsylvanians.  Details must remain confidential for now, but there will be a blog entry summarizing this event in the very near future, and you can always check our website for details, too.

Occupy Harrisburg sincerely appreciates the huge outpouring of support we received from all of you.  We pledge to continue being a force for social and economic justice, in solidarity with our fellow Occupiers, all over the nation and the world.

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