Yesterday, my friend Hannah and I joined in the Occupy Chicago march down Michigan Ave. after we left the office. We took over the northbound lane from Congress up to Randolph and then Randolph to the Thompson Center. (We were headed for Daley Plaza, but the Christkindlmarket was being set up.)
There was lots of chanting — “We are the 99%!” “People, Not Profits, Occupy Chicago!” “ONE, we are the people, TWO, we are united, THREE, the occupation is. not. leaving!” — and also some cries of “join us, join us!” to onlookers.
A helicopter followed our route, but I couldn’t tell if it was a police chopper anticipating a turn for the worse, or a news crew looking for an aerial view. The cops formed bicycle barricades to keep us from crossing to the southbound lane (although I must point out, which the newspapers do not, that there are several people in the Occupy group who wear reflective vests and direct the group to make sure we all stay pretty orderly, and that’s a service to our fellow citizens that goes unrecognized in the mainstream media).
We saw a lot of great signs, the most simple being “I can’t believe we still have to protest this crap.” There was a mix of people, a lot of young students, yes, but quite a few middle-aged and older folks as well; and it was a racially diverse group of righteously angry people. Hannah and I stayed for the first couple speeches at the General Assembly and then gave in to the cold and our growling stomachs and headed home.
I do love me a good protest march; there’s nothing quite like it for feeling part of something greater and more noble than your daily life, which is to say, the cause of making everyone’s daily lives better.
Images courtesy of Hannah.