Story by Nadin Abbott
Photos by Nadin Abbott and Jennifer Douglas
November 12, 2011 (San Diego)—Over a hundred women walked from the other side of Third Avenue downtown, pushing wheelbarrow and carrying trash bags filled with supplies such as dry socks. The rain came down hard, soaking them. Many East County women were among the crowd, including a Jamul mother and her son.
They chanted “We are the ninety-nine percent,” and “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” The occupiers peeked out from under plastic tarps, or came out from whatever cover they were allowed by San Diego Police, and cheered. To them, it was a surprise. A few faces, filled with emotion, had tears. View a video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcsc5PXsJts
The group, which called itself “Middle Class Women”, crossed the road to the Civic Center. Media swarmed around them, as they chanted, “We support Occupy San Diego.” The wheelbarrows and bags turned to the food table, where they would be soon be put to good use. They stood there for a little while, letting pictures be taken, and taking in the scene. Then the women moved to the Civic Center Plaza.
They were from all walks of life, young and old. They walked all the way to the cover, but realized that there was better light at the center of the plaza. So they walked to the center. There Kristin Smith started the press conference, telling the press that they came to support Occupy. “We are the ninety-nine percent,” she said, adding, “We are fed up with the current system which favors the upper one percent and leaves every else behind…We vote, and want our vote counted.”
Judy Ki, a retired teacher from Poway, took over. She told the press and now occupiers that it is time to start investing in education, but that first we needed to get money out politics. She also quoted Elizabeth Warren, and said it’s time for the myth of the job creators to end. Wealth does not trickle down, she suggested; those people deserve their success, but also need to pay it forward to our future generations.
When the women opened the floor for questions, a reporter tried to direct the questions to the current story line from Council. The women very skillfully brought it back to the economic reasons behind this. They also warned the city and the press that they will be there every Saturday making sure the occupiers are treated well. They also reminded the press that they have a right to protest and to be there. They were crystal`clear on the rights of the people to the rights of assembly. They also said they were fed up with the current media coverage.
After the press conference, the women marched down Third Avenue to Horton Plaza, and then down Broadway to Fourth and back to the camp. All were soaked to the bone (as was this reporter).
The Middle Class Women effort grew from just three women a week ago to over one hundred as of today. Like the Occupy movement, it has swelled exponentially. To the Occupiers this was a shot to their morale, and it lifted their spirits. The reaction from the occupiers was elation; clearly many were moved at seeing actual support.
Future plans include being there every Saturday as well as a Thanksgiving dinner. A place to join these women is here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/middle185.
Thank you, Nadin and Jennifer, for the beautiful story and pics (and for braving the rain and the cold)!