Occupy London marked one year anniversary with gathering in Victoria Park
London Community News
Photos by Mike Maloney/London Community News/Twitter: mdmaloneyphoto
Victoria Park once again echoed to the chant of we are the 99 percent, as around 75 Occupy London activists and supporters came together on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 20) to mark the first anniversary of their three-week stand in the park last fall.
Gathering first in Campbell Park, the group rekindled memories of October 2011, marching along Dundas and Richmond streets before joining on the site of their former encampment. Once there, they listening to a few words from various speakers before sharing a pot-luck lunch and barbecue.
And while the tents are gone and Occupy no longer seems to garner a place in the glare of the media spotlight anymore, Saturday’s gathering along with similar ones in other cities, prove the movement is far from dead.
Eric Shepperd was one of the original Occupy London organizers and is still active with the local movement.
Buoyed by the numbers of people that came out to help celebrate the anniversary despite less than favourable weather conditions, he remarked that it is inspiring to see this community remains strong even after a year and all that happened. “There is still a strength of this community through theses people,” Shepperd said.
For Mike Roy, another of the London group’s original members, he said what Occupy did was act as a springboard. “Many people are in a lot of different groups now, a lot of affinity groups like Food not Bombs, No One Is Illegal.”
Moving forward, what Roy sees as Occupy’s legacy is introducing many people to horizontal democracy and teaching people they actually can affect change in their lives.
One of those is Amanda Schneider. Admittedly a shy person by nature, Schneider’s own social conscience was awakened by the movement. Inspired and encouraged by the people she met through Occupy, Schneider started her own organization called The Free Bake. “I bake every Saturday night and then on Sunday afternoon, I hand out free baked goods to everybody.”
Using the example of the social movements of the 60s and 70s and the changes they brought, Roy says what Occupy was, is now more of a starting point. “When we look back at this overall social movement, especially here in Ontario, this is going to be the key piece that started things off.”
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