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Occupy Shares Love with Police, Small Businesses

Occupiers will be making Valentine's Day cards in Courthouse Square.

Occupy Shares Love with Police, Small Businesses

Courtesy of Occupy Redwood City

Today is the last day Occupy Redwood City will gather at Courthouse Square to “Share the Love” by doing arts and crafts and rallying peacefully with our friends and neighbors. We will make and send Valentine’s Day and “Thank You” cards from noon to 8 p.m. to express our love and gratitude to individuals, small businesses, and institutions who have been supportive of our cause or have at least shown evidence of practices or viewpoints that align with our ideals.

Since Friday, we have been sharing our love and gratitude with those who differ in opinion but engage us in open dialogue, because as Occupiers we value increased community participation in respectful political discourse. Through this direct action we hope to promote civil engagement, a regular practice of gratitude, and a general call to put people and community before profits.

One institution we will be sending cards to is the . From the very beginning of our own local Occupy movement, officers from all ranks within the RWC PD have opened and helped us to maintain channels of communication, and they have respected our statements of non-violent intention. Almost without exception all officers have been uniquely helpful in facilitating a dialogue, and we appreciate that.

Occupy movements can be hyper-vigilant about possible police misconduct but we are also hyper-aware of the fact that police officers are our public servants and part of the 99%. Thanks to years of a failing economy funding to local agencies has been cut statewide, leading to massive cuts in public sector jobs, consolidation of struggling agencies, and deep rollbacks to the benefits that the brave men and women who risk their lives for the sake of their community’s security fully deserve.

Police officers get hit with bad sub-prime loans too, and they get foreclosed on by the Big Banks just like the rest of us. They are not any more immune than we are to the consequences of the 1%’s greed or the corporate takeover of government, and we stand in solidarity with them.

We will also be sending thank you cards to . Chief Skinner was present at the most recent City Council meeting, which ORWC attended to speak on behalf of the families involved in the tragic fire at the Le Mar mobile home park last month; he immediately offered his assistance to a resident of Le Mar who had come to the Council meeting to speak about the chronic problems at there, and his generosity is just one of the reasons we wanted to “Share the Love” with our brave firefighters as well.

Perhaps the main thing that we of ORWC want to highlight with our “Share the Love” campaign is the importance to our community of small, local businesses. We urge people to move their money out of the Big Banks and into local community banks or credit unions but we also want people to vote with their pocketbooks every day and support local businesses first.

A study of local businesses in Andersonville, Illinois showed that for each $100 one spends, local businesses give back $68 to the local economy while chain stores only give back $43. Another study revealed that for every dollar spent in a local retail establishment 45% goes back into the local economy, compared to 14% when spent at a big-box store.

For the health of our community we need to shop local and support businesses that value their community and pay it forward by employing local people, supporting local schools, and purchasing goods from other small, local businesses.

Finally, during “Share the Love” this Valentine’s Day weekend we also wanted to
highlight the subject of another “V” Day: our veterans. Veterans’ issues and the funding of their needs was one of the first issues that ORWC formally supported upon its inception, and we of ORWC decry the fact that not enough love is shared with our veterans, so many of whom lack access to affordable medical care and mental health services, affordable education, and job opportunities. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, approximately 67,000 veterans are homeless in our nation on any given night, and 1.5 million are at risk of homelessness due to poverty and lack of support networks.

A nation that continues to create veterans by spending billions on war and occupation while doing a deeply inadequate job of treating them with the respect and appreciation they deserve during their transition back into civilian life is a nation that has forgotten its ability to love.

A nation in which war veterans who were told by their government that they were fighting for American ideals like free speech and peaceful protest come home safely only to see veterans getting injured by domestic police forces and the government passing bills aimed at restricting our civil liberties is a nation which needs to seriously reevaluate the loveless direction in which its heading. We stand with our veterans, because like our public safety officers and like
the small business owners that keep our city vibrant, they are also part of the 99%.

As February is also Black History Month, it is all the more fitting to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King on the subject of love as Valentine’s Day approaches:

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

We of ORWC want to end our country’s culture of corporate power without human love, and replace it with a culture of loving action that restores power to the public. We invite our friends and neighbors to Share the Love with us this weekend at Courthouse Square, from noon to 8 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

(Occupy Redwood City continues to meet every Friday at 5 PM in Courthouse Square to rally and hold their General Assemblies. Their next march against the Big Banks is scheduled for the 18th of this month.)

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