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Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Atlanta --- is working for good

"Keep it smart. Keep it non-violent. Keep it growing." - Marianne Williamson

When your enter Woodruff park, located on Edgewood and Peachtree Streets in the heart of downtown Atlanta, you'll hear faint music coming from speakers located near various shrubs. It's really a sight to see; the landscape of Woodruff Park changed with the settlement of "Occupy Atlanta" tenants.

A young man, James greeted me when I approached the Welcome Table, on Tuesday, and showed me where he had been living for the past four days. A native of North Carolina, he has been residing in Georgia for nearly four years. He is a tall, attractive white male in his early twenties. Like a proud son, he showed me an American flag that he held the night before at a peaceful rally. "We want our voices heard. We want unity," he said.

It rained heavily on Wednesday which made me think about the people staying the night at the park. I have since returned been to the park several times and when I was last there, I felt a sense of calmness, but also of struggle. Homelessness is still apparent, vendors are still lined up and down Peachtree Street, and onlookers sit and watch from the tables.

Activists taking to the streets and occupying space is not new to protests. In the 1960s, civil rights activists lead sit-ins and organized boycotts. I'm not opposed to peaceful protests. In the age of social media, social protest participants have been able to voice their concerns, unlike in the past though traditional media.

It's my hope that Occupy Atlanta stays strong, resilient, and continues to stay focused on their goals. I think occupying public space works.

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