Local NBC affiliate WJAR channel 10 hit Occupy Providence to get some reaction to Time Magazine’s Person of the year pick. The Occupy Supply gear was in full view during the NBC interview. My contact gave me the heads up today.
I delivered some gear to Occupy Providence on Dec. 11th and today I heard back from my contact in the media working group that the items were very warm and they were very grateful. They are in need of more, since the site has approximately 60 overnight sleepers, and luckily another shipment is on the way.
I signed on as a liaison for FDL because I cannot be out there sleeping or marching but I have to help. I have been advocating torches and pitchforks for years and trying mightily to get the American people that I have contact with to wake up. It has been a great joy to see that enough “others” are paying attention and that there are those out there who are starting to get it no matter how painful it is to realize the truth.
It took some time to win the trust of the occupiers of Providence. They didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth but they also didn’t want to be co-opted by some outside influence. I took Kevin Gosztola there on November 13th as part of his East Coast tour. No one in the camp knew what firedoglake.com was but they agreed to interviews with Kevin. The consensus that day was that they needed zero degree sleeping bags so Kevin and I headed off to shop. We ended up with 8 bags and returned to deliver them.
Mike M. of the media working group had us deliver them for safe keeping to his art studio. The weather was still quite balmy and the group wanted time to see who was serious about staying during the winter before they distributed the bags. Even though I was in contact with them via email, it still took a long time before I could pin them down as to what supplies they needed.
Rhode Island is small, but where I live is a 62 mile round trip to Providence and between gas prices and my income I can’t take the trip lightly. So I waited, and emailed and waited. Finally I got a tally of items from the comfort and safety working group. One of the things that concerned them the most was being an attractive place for the homeless to crash. They didn’t want to turn them away but neither wanted to encourage them and then find someone dead from the cold in a tent. Fortunately, the RI Homeless Advocacy Project approached the occupiers early on to let them know that most of the homeless folks they encounter in Burnside Park already have case workers and housing alternatives. They relieved them of the duty to use their energy to try to solve those problems. RIHAP handed out cards to the occupiers and told them to call them with their concerns or if anyone seemed to be falling through the cracks.
Since I was able to deliver some of the items they requested on Sunday and then, after a photograph, I went away, I think I have gained their trust that FDL just wants to help and we won’t ask anything of them. I have heard more from them via email since Sunday then I have in the past month. I also had my reservations about becoming a FDL liaison because I didn’t want to become a salesperson for FDL memberships. I have to say that there has been absolutely no conversation or pressure to do that. That makes me very happy. I am not doing this to be thanked or for attention or to sell anything. I am doing this because it is the right thing to do and I am happy to be part of a community who feels the same.