On March 10th on the south steps of 200 North Spring Street in front of City Hall, demonstrators gathered in solidarity with women around the world in an official event to celebrate the recent passing of Women's Day (March 8th), and to spread messages of empowerment to the public. As speakers took turns sharing their motivational words, a unifying theme prevailed; one which calls for a facilitation of a nurturing maternal model, rather than the patriarchal hierarchy which tends to arise more often in professional institutions and the governing establishment.
Individuals shared their wide range of experiences, touching on topics which ranged from abortion and a woman's right to choose, to the issues women face in the workplace, at home, and in the armed forces. One important speaker made an impression when she compared her past experiences; a friend of hers had nearly bled to death as a result of an illegal abortion, whereas when she herself needed one, medical services were available which made the procedure safe for her to undergo. She also compared how right wing conservatives have less issues with those who are able to pay for expensive medical services like abortions, citing Rush Limbaugh's more recent public faux pas, which have cost him face, and sponsors. Her words echoed loudly in the empty spaces between the buildings, as if she were speaking in a massive cathedral, or a grand hallway of epic proportions.
Margeret Prescod of the popular Sojourner Truth program, which is broadcast in Los Angeles through KPFK, introduced a series of "stacked" guests who were from the crowd but not scheduled speakers. Among them were representatives of other activist arms of the movement, such as Bryan Seligman who announced actions to take place in Oxnard on Friday the 16th of March, at an Oxnard Monsanto Facility. Other guest speakers included members of Occupy The Hood, as well as religious leaders in the community.
The crowd was filled with members of Occupy Los Angeles as well as people who had just come to see the art display. Live music was performed and people danced together in the street to a violinists rendition of Parliament Funkaledic: Maggot Brain. People drew intricate designs in chalk on the street; a heart, a dove, and a peace sign among them. Fresh vegetarian gourmet was provided for all and many homeless were able to take advantage of this service. A large area had been established as a kid's playground and it was covered by an awning so the young could take refuge from the sun. Responsible adults supervised the playful children, many of whom danced with hula hoops and ran around in the background while others just grooved to the P-Funk.
At 4:00 pm the crowd began to diminish and a General Assembly was held at Pershing square. A person could walk down Spring Street from the demonstration, under the street lights and the signs, dodging the cars in the intersection as they made their way. The familiar pace of traffic, the slow strut of pedestrians, the perverse drafts of hydrocarbons permeating the air all speak of Los Angeles. Taking a right turn at Fifth Street and walking underneath a scaffolding seems to suspend this environment's spells, instead casting ones thoughts to those of the crowded streets of New York, where a stroll through Manhattan might lead you underneath six or seven such scaffolds. Stepping out from beneath it dispels this mirage however, and one more trip through the dicey intersections leads into Pershing Square.
The General Assembly gathering has set up a food table and is giving out meals to anyone who asks for one. As more people arrive to listen to the presenters two police officers arrive. They begin photographing members of the crowd. When asked why they are taking photographs, they respond that they are "documenting who is here," which seemed to agitate members of the crowd. People arrived carrying banners and signs which depicted the popular Guy Fawkes Mask now synonymous with the Anonymous movement.
In the downtrodden square block of city in downtown LA, surrounded by 5th, 6th, Hill Street, and Olive Street they sit on the steps and repeat the speaker's words. In the same park where decorated United States Marine Eugene Arnold Obregon's monument lies, enthusiastic members of the Occupy movement meet yet again to share their ideas and speak about the issues which are pertinent to our society. They gather and break bread in front of the fountain and speak out about the rights of workers and share their thoughts. It is a tradition which is slowly beginning to become to the new brand of the climate of change sweeping across the rest of the country as other occupy groups rise up throughout the nation.
As time continues to pass the momentum will only carry forward. The goals are clear and the aberrant policies which damage society will be identified and redacted or eliminated. It is only a matter of public outreach, education, awareness, and nonviolent non-participation in a system which implements the destruction of the rights which we hold dear to our hearts. A model of empowerment must be embraced in the wake of the sinking shit that is the patriarchy of our society, and in this way we can achieve the goal of cultivating a climate of success at home and abroad.