I stopped by Occupy Seattle at Westlake Park after work to drop off some donations and hung out to talk with people for awhile.
I went in not really knowing what to expect, honestly. I left quite impressed with the dedication, politeness, commitment and knowledgeable nature of everyone I met – this included carpenters, students, day laborers, tech geeks, public health professionals, a CPA, the homeless and the jobless. Despite being denied tents or anything resembling a shelter (this includes being able to sit on the ground holding an umbrella – doing so is grounds for arrest) for the past week, these soaked-to-bone folks are hanging on and standing up, trying to stay as warm, dry and healthy as possibly as they help stir public discussion of how corporations are affecting our country.
They’re doing remarkably well given the lack of shelter and uncertainty about the city’s intentions in light of the conflicting messages coming from City Hall and the police during the past few days. They know this is to be expected, and seem quite focused despite the confusion. They’re committed to occupying everywhere, as they noted in the GA as I was heading home.
They’ve received lots of food donations from supportive Seattleites, and kept stressing how thankful they were for every item dropped off. There are some basic items that they still need, that will help them keep the camp and the protest orderly, neat, and running smoothly. Can you help with any of the items below? Even one single item off of this list, dropped off at the supply tent at Westlake, would be immeasurably helpful.
Items requested this evening during my visit:
Camp lanterns (the windup or battery operated kind)
Duct tape of every color for group and supply organization (orange, white, dark blue, lime green, silver, black, purple, yellow and grey/silver, of course)
Sharpies (for labeling supplies, noting phone numbers on arms, etc)
Portable charging/power stations (they have nowhere to charge phones, laptops, cameras, police are preventing them from using existing outlets)
Materials to make signs (water resistant placards if possible, sticks for handles, markers, etc)
Dry clothes of every sort
Blankets (all weather and thermal blankets especially – hypothermia is becoming a serious concern)
Vitamins packets (Emergenc-E and the like)
Thermometers (the disposable strip ones would be great, as they’re trying to monitor health and determine when people need to seek a doctor)
Plastic buckets (for general purpose cleaning of cuts, sores, etc.)
Peroxide and alcohol
Eye wash kits
2 more epi pens, if possible
Plastic storage containers for supplies (a few with drawers would be helpful for the medic tent)
Bottled water (always need this, never enough)
General cleaning products – (Lysol, brooms, garbage bags, etc. – they want to keep everything in camp as clean as possible).
Have washer or dryer? There are many soaking wet blankets there that could be washed, dried and reused if you’ve got the machines, the detergent and the hour free to do a few.
Best of all? They’d like you to stop by, whether it be for a few hours, or joining in the occupation, to share your ideas, concerns, and creativity. I plan to drop off more donations, and spend more time there as soon as I beat this pesky cold.
Thanks to everyone at the camp for your insights, information and time spent talking with me when you had so many other things going on at once.