On the first night that activists slept in the park on the corner of Broad and Farmington/Asylum, someone in the apartment building across the street shot BBs at protestors. Originally told they could not erect structures in the park, now, Occupiers have set up tents. Over the weekend, supporters have brought doughnuts and soup to activists.Word is getting out about the organization and action. The Unitarian Society of Hartford on Bloomfield Avenue displayed a sandwich board inviting activists with Occupy Hartford to worship there this morning.
Beyond Friday nightís march through Downtown, the activists have been troubleshooting. One longtime activist said some concerns about attitudes related to race and sex needed to be dealt with before they had the opportunity to blow up into major issues. Others have identified the need for a kidsí area in the park; some were working on scrounging up toys for kids. Creating a kid-friendly environment allows more participation from single parents in general and from women in particular.
On Sunday, someone with the Wellness Committee planned to lead children on a nature walk through Bushnell Park. The Wellness Committee was developed to help prevent activist burnout, as well as to ensure that their spiritual needs were being met.
Park Occupiers talked about the potential of running workshops in the future, including one on how to connect with the media. Among longtime activists, there was an airing of frustration over how long some of the meetings have lasted, and admitted that some of this was due to new activists who are unfamiliar with the consensus-building model. An expectation expressed both by those involved in Occupy Hartford and by those who have merely been observing is that there will be a thinning out process. Those with an impatience for a leaderless, process-heavy movement are expected to drop out, as are those whose belief systems do not jive with those of the rest of the group.
The activists have a meeting scheduled for early this evening; they have been posting meeting times on a sign along Farmington Avenue.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
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