Friday, November 4, 2011

'Awake' marchers meet with Orlando occupiers

      The grassroots social media movement “Awake the State” recently marched in support of the “Occupy Orlando” protest based on voters ready to make a stand on shared goals and fears of political corruption.

     This march was planned for November because it’s nearly a year away from the 2012 election, with the prime theme being voter registration and sharing the information that is vital to the upcoming election.

     “A lot of the occupations flourish when they gain ground and they are able to start building an alternative community,” said Thomas Hellinger, a Valencia alumni and member of Orlando Food not Bombs activist group with members arrested for feeding the homeless over the Summer. “I was involved with an anti-war protest back in 2006 and a good rally back then was anything over 10 people.”

     Awake the State has a clear objective and clear supporters like the major unions in Florida such as police, firefighters, teachers and labor. They are unsatisfied with governor Rick Scott and the actions of the Florida State legislative branch. They want to let government officials know that if they continue to be unsatisfied, they will vote them out of office.

     “It’s just about voter awareness, engagement, rights, and protection,” said Amy Ritter, an Awake the State member. “We’re all out here upset over the budget, Rick Scott's anti-middle class job killing polices and a legislature carrying the water for the Governor.”

     "Occupy Orlando" and "Awake the State" are working together with this protest with a goal of bolstering numbers in support for each cause.

     “It’s just powerful seeing all of these diverse folks come out and show support for each other against a legislature that is passing law after law on the back of the middle class,” said Tymothy Murray, organizer and member of Occupy Orlando.

     It’s unclear of the numbers that will continue to support Occupy Orlando by staying in front of the Chamber of Commerce during the upcoming colder months.

     Because of recent protesters being arrested in Orlando, along with violent confrontations with “Occupy Oakland” in California, it’s unclear if this occupation escalates, ends peacefully, fails or succeeds.

     Next November the voice of the people we be clearly defined by the voter turnout and the results thereafter.

By James Tutten

(Published: Nov. 9, 2011 issue of "Valencia Voice" on page 5.)

(All photos by James Tutten)


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