OWS' 'Spring Awakening' in Central Park Will Kick Off a Season of Activism, Attract New Faces
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The Spring Awakening 2012, a day of rejuvenation, celebration, and intense movement-building, will take place this Saturday, April 14, in Central Park. For Occupy supporters who may have been disheartened by any struggles over the winter, this event will help propel Occupy Wall Street forward over the next six months. It is designed to welcome new people into the life of activism and strengthen existing ties of those already embedded in the movement.
With a background in international affairs and human rights, I came to OWS in early October to see what it was all about. I was intrigued by the alternative world the movement had created in Liberty Plaza in such a short time. I knew I had to be a part of it. After attending numerous general assemblies and marches, and floating through various working group meetings, I chose the Spring Awakening citywide assembly as one of my first major projects. Having attended the project's first planning meeting in December, I have been an organizer for the event ever since.
The world that OWS wants to create is one of cooperation and mutual benefit, based on the belief that our society needs to better learn how to work with new and different people even if they disagree with one another, and it was important for us to honor those ideas in our planning. From the start, Spring Awakening coordinators sought to bring people from around the city, including OWS neighborhood general assemblies, into the planning process to take ownership of the project. While making decisions via consensus is a great and necessary tool, it can lead to a very drawn-out and grueling process, especially when you have a lot of people with wide-ranging opinions. While some organizers were definitely disheartened at the slow pace of our planning, many of us stuck together until the end for what will likely be a highly revitalizing event this Saturday. Hurdles and bumps aside, the Spring Awakening is set to be an exciting, fun, and productive movement-building experience.
The intent of the Spring Awakening is threefold: to reinvigorate, to celebrate, and to host interactive movement-building.
The Spring Awakening is here to reinvigorate any momentum that may have been lost over the winter. Since many in the general public are misinformed about what Occupy has been doing over the past few months, we want to make it clear that we are still here, as alive and energetic as ever. The numerous meetings we have been having at 60 Wall Street, Judson Memorial Church, Liberty Plaza, and numerous other venues are now showing the fruits of our labor. We didn't get disheartened and give up after the November 15th eviction like the mainstream media has led the public to believe. Rather, we have spent the winter figuring out how to propel this movement forward and create the world we want to live in.
The planning team believed it was significant to hold the event in the spring because of the symbolism of the season. Spring is a time of renewal and re-growth, which, as mentioned before, is what the Spring Awakening is hoping to bring to the movement. OWS has been a powerful force this spring even prior to this event, so we only imagine Saturday to be even better with this built-up energy. We also can't forget the Arab Spring that has changed the landscape of the Middle East, and which helped inspire OWS in its early days.
The event will also serve as build-up for May Day, which is expected to be a major day of action for the movement. The Spring Awakening is meant to get people energized, while being lower-risk and less focused on direct-action.