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Virginia | Occupied Stories

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A Songful May Day in Harrisonburg, VA


HARRISONBURG, VA – Fifteen Harrisonburg, VA OccuPeeps gathered next to our brand new tiny tent encampment at 5PM for a singing “hootenanny” with four guitars and a collection of percussion.

Our favorites songs were “This Your Land is Your Land” and “Let it Fail” –  set to the Beatles “Let It Be” -beseeching the country to cut Bank of America loose from bailout tethers.

OccuHistorian Michael Snell-Feikema provided a dynamic teach-in on May Day history we all realized yet again that this struggle is ages-old, relentless, and absolutely critical.

We marched around our city’s Court Square;  attention focused on B of A’s badness with a rousing rendition of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho”.  In this version the bank’s walls come-a-tubmlin’ down!!

We are grateful and energized to have spent the past 6 months in the Shenandoah Valley engaged in this amazing movement.

Pro-people. Pro-local. Pro-peace.

-Occupy Harrisonburg-

For more information here’s our blog:  occupyhburg.wordpress.com  Follow @occupyhburg on Twitter. And catch our UStream on The Occupy Harrisonburg Channel.

Editors note: Check out our other May Day stories here.

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New Grass Grows


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA –

 

I remember when the park was just a park

With no tents, no signs, no campfire, and no spark

Just a place dogs go to play and poop

As their owners try to hide

What they decide

Not to pick up

I remember eating lunch there

Sitting on a bench in my own solitaire

Friendless, helpless, but hopeful for change

Wondering when my life will cease to abide

Wanting to decide

For something more

I remember that cold rainy day it was said

To come support the 99% under a big white tent

There were cameras and umbrellas

A whisper of hope in the air

A defiant “we are still here”

A first meeting of radical strangers

Well, it took three hours of conversation

With much patience and most people’s undivided attention

It was decided to occupy the nearby park

So bring your tents,

Bring your signs and blankets

But most importantly

Bring your beating hearts

I remember when the park was filled to the brim

With tents, bright eyes, and an occasional hymn

The fire pit became the hearth of our self-made dens

A place I called home

Where strangers became lovers

And where I found my long lost friends

People were well fed with food and new friendships

Energized by lively discussions and beautiful mic checks

Meeting every night under the changing moon

People knew my name

As I claimed My Voice back

Not a moment too soon

After speaking our words of truth, hope, and love

We were abruptly evicted from our revolutionary abode

After eleven o’clock the police came

To take my friends away

A part of me died that fateful night

Along side any hope for my government

Since I was not allowed in the park

I cried tears on the sidewalk

And felt a familiar emptiness for days

Now when the sun is up

I still eat lunch in this graveyard park

With no tents, no signs, no voices, no campfire, and no spark

As I look around these pieces of earth

I remember all of those who stood with me

Like stepping on unmarked graves

It is like a ghost town to me today

As I eat no one talks to me now

Because no one knows my name

Next to that stupid statue

Dogs still poop and play

Their owners still don’t clean up

The messes they’ve made

Not much has changed to the untrained eye

But as I look down I see proof of what once was

What I see is new grass, growth, and rebirth

I see new grass growing where tents once stood

I see new green where the fire pit once burned

I see new life in those places once barren

With so much movement and many footprints

This park was filled with spark

And full of life each night

Truth be told,

The proof is in the soil

The earth remembers our presence

Even if no one else does

I see growth in the hearts of those who courageous stood

Up for equality, financial stability, and the right to be heard

I see progress in the connections we’ve made

Complete strangers turned into good friends

And the people we know now

Are the names we call out

When we are in need of help

Instead of reverting to old destructive habits

I see rebirth from the ashes of despair

People once isolated and alone

Prove their worth to themselves

Once dim candles find the fire within

The tears I cried on the sidewalk

Was a necessary part

Of universal transformation

True change is only birthed

When there is a release

A letting go

With a renewed sense of self

Such beauty comes from birth, death, and resurrection

How fitting to see the new grass grow as a sign of strength from within

Proving the cycle of life never dies, only changes form

And if you wait long enough

It will always come back

And better then before

As memories play their part and build on each other

My life is forever changed

By the experiences felt In this tent city

As we protested for change on a broad scale

We found a kinship of misfits

And started with the only thing you can truly change

And that is, very simply, yourself

 

-Flora Lark Baily-

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