It is an exciting time of change and evolution for Occupy Providence! We have plenty of things to celebrate this winter and we are looking forward to an action-packed Spring, for which we are already planning events and actions. Here’s a brief update on what’s going on!
WINTER DAY SHELTER OPENS AT EMMANUEL HOUSE
After maintaining a 24-hour-a-day-protest at The People’s Park for over 100 days, Occupy Providence will suspend the overnight portion of its occupation on January 29th, in conjunction with last Wednesday’s opening of the day shelter at Emmanuel House! When city officials cited winter safety concerns as compelling reasoning for Occupy Providence members to vacate Burnside Park— The People’s Park— occupiers voiced their own concern for some of the most disenfranchised members of the Rhode Island community: unemployed and underemployed people and families who are currently experiencing homelessness, and who do not have the means to escape the harsh winter safety concerns cited by the city. Until now, Providence has lacked a day center, sheltering homeless Rhode Islanders at night but closing night shelter doors as early as 6:00am or 7:00am, forcing many individuals to seek shelter and warmth in public spaces until night shelters reopen. Occupy Providence has agreed to temporarily suspend its overnight tent occupation in the park on the condition that the city open an unused facility to be converted into a day center during the harsh winter months, providing families and individuals with shelter, transitional resources and services, and the opportunity to avoid the harsh winter safety concerns insisted upon by officials.
While visiting the day center on its opening day, one OP member observed twenty to twenty-five people utilizing the new center by 11:30am, with more coming in during the span of his visit. This is a victory for OP and for our community! (Read more here)
OCCUPY WALL STREET/OCCUPY MEXICO VISIT PROVIDENCE
21 members of the Occupy movement from New York and Mexico arrived in Providence this week! They are participating in a 5-week-tour, where they will visit other occupations throughout the North East. Their first stop was Occupy Providence! After celebrating their arrival and sharing food at a potluck, the occupiers collaborated on a skill-sharing workshop! Be sure to follow the group’s travels on twitter @OWSBus.
VIDEO: OWS visits Occupy Providence
OP PLANS FOR SPRING
Despite the temporary suspension of OP’s overnight encampment, Occupy Providence is energized and committed to continue organizing, planning direct actions, and exercising our right to free speech and expression. The opening of the day center is just one of many victories, and OP plans to expand on its already long list of completed actions and events, continuing its struggle against mass economic injustice. In addition to the actions which have taken place throughout winter, OP members are anticipating an action-packed Spring season as we begin to plan and organize for the warmer weather. Occupy Providence members remain committed to leaving The People’s Park in better condition than we found it, maintaining our initiative to re-seed the park’s grass as soon as weather permits. As always, be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming events— OP is more energized than ever!
Update by Jade