We Made It! From OWS to ODC!

The nycmarch2dc/occupy the highway/walking occupation has reached its goal. We successfully marched the 240+ miles from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy K Street (and the capital); outreached to rural communities by engaging in conversations and holding five public GA’s; empowered each other by holding three facilitation trainings (with rotating instructors); and worked toward solidifying our own process by having countless internal/marcher GA’s in public and private spaces. Lastly, we marched 31.5 miles on Monday in order to get into DC earlier since the super committee moved their deadline up (and as we’ve all heard came to no decision at all). Tuesday night we held a Super GA outside the Capitol building. There were only 20 people in attendance, but I can imagine in a year from now that number could be in the millions. Additionally, the ball is rolling and I have heard plans for more marches and bicycle and bus tours from occupations nationwide.

Upon our arrival at McPherson Sq we refused to give interviews until the appropriate time in the General Assembly Press Conference which passed with marcher consensus prior to our arrival. I’ve been informed that the GA Press Conference was aired in its entirety on CNN and CSPAN. The agenda was  as follows:

1. Crash course in direct democracy; including hand signals, consensus based decision making process, and facilitation roles/descriptions.  15 minutes* (these times are estimates for now).

2. Code of conduct/non-violence in occupations/occupy movement briefing.  5 minutes.

3. Marching group report backs (stories from the march/individual perspectives).  15 min.

4. Q&A (reporters were put on stack and there was a group of five people fielding questions).  20 min.

5. Announcements.  5 min.

The GA Press Conference was roughly an hour long and worked really well. There was one reporter who voiced his impatience about going through the hand signals and other agenda items before being able to ask a specific question. He was kindly informed of the process and thanked for his patience.

I think every marcher will have various responses when asked what the biggest challenges of the march were, personally, aside from the  sometimes chaotic internal GA’s and biases, the biggest challenge to me right now is leaving the amazing community of marchers who feel like family, wait-are family, without being incredibly sad. I have never before been in such a diverse and generally supportive group of individuals. We didn’t have perfect communication, but we often chased stress with laughter and arguments withs love. We never had problems with violence, sexual harassment, etc. I’m on  a train right now and tomorrow morning when I wake up alone I expect to feel a little disoriented-like maybe the march left without me and I’ll have to catch up. I know I’ll see most of these beautiful people again eventually because that’s how life works, but in the meantime I want all the marchers and the world to know how unified we are (both with marchers and occupations) and how powerful that unity is and that this unity can overwrite personal dilemmas if we let it. We can do anything. Hell, the marchers just walked over 240 miles, always had warm places to sleep, food to eat, and community support. I love you all and I need to end here since I have occupied the wordpress with my feelings long enough:)

-k

p.s. next month a small group of us will begin going through the hours and hours of video footage, photography, live stream, and writing we have from day 1 – day 14 of the march. Stay tuned. A lot is happening…

***I just made a few edits to this post to clarify what I intended to say. I’m not saying life is now beautiful and problems no longer exist-exactly the opposite-many marchers have said they’ll walk until their feet bleed. My sentiments are just that-and maybe it’s entirely inappropriate to relay sentiments on such a public site devoted to the march, but many people can relate to feelings such as these and that, I believe, is one possible way to unify with a lot more people. We may consider ourselves revolutionaries, but we are still people after all.

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23 responses to “We Made It! From OWS to ODC!

  • Linda F.

    What a beautiful post! Congratulations to you all, and thank you!

  • saraday

    you all inspired me so much that i detoured my trip to my family’s in kentucky, drove 8 hours instead from asheville to DC to try and meet up with you on the last leg into DC. i got there after the GA (mcpherson sq) and was sad to miss you but inspired by the folks i met there and the occupy charlottesville folks i met along the way. i am truly inspired and active in my support. being in DC brought back a flood of memories, of when i was a small child and my parents marched with us in the anti-war movement, and my mom and 4-year old sister were tear-gassed…some things have not changed, absolute power wants to control absolutely, but occupy is charting a new direction of self-governance and non-violence unseen before in our history and we will not be stopped. so much love!

    • Anton-Scott Goustin

      There’s an Occupy Charlottesville? OMG! Is there a 6 foot 2 red-haired farm kid there? He attended William and Mary starting at age 16 (in 1759). He walked with a broad, sure gait. He invented sunglasses, and the swivel chair, and founded the US Patent Office. A fervent reader and a visionary dreamer, he would definitely smile upon the Occupy Movements around the world, and contribute to setting an off-tilt world right-side up again! Have you seen him?

      • saraday

        anton!! yes, i saw him signed his petition for a designated occupy camping area. and he’s developed a comfy camping hammock to boot!

  • amanda

    Feels odd that the march is over but thank goodness the movement is not. I did the math yesterday, the OWS 6 month anniversary will be on St. Patricks Day and I’m fairly certain that Spring Break in colleges falls on or around St. Patricks Day. I heard a few of you talking about marching in the spring so I was really hoping that it would work out in that time frame. I would have walked with you guys from Philly to DC this time if I hadn’t had classes and tests to take before Thanksgiving break. Really hoping your next march is on March 17 so that I can joing the march during my whole week off of classes. March in March!

    I love you all and what you all did was truely special. Thank you so much for what you’ve done!

  • thaibonnie

    wow! K….that was an incredibly inspiring post. you and your fellow marchers have occupied my heart since the beginning of your journey…i am honored to have been someone who could contribute what she could to encourage, show love and support for what you are/ were demonstrating with the ny to dc march…..i was the lady who met you all at rhode island metro sation to bring you hot foood for lunch…well maybe warm by the time you arrived. that was so cool…..the country is blessed by your presence and your actions …..sending you love and gratitude as you go on your way :) take good care, always!

  • Anonymous

    You Guys ROCK!!!!! <3

  • Mical

    I love you all and on this day of thanks you and the whole Occupy movement are at the top of my thankful list. Yesterday @ Liberty Square, there was still a group singing anti-war songs & today there’s a plan to feed 2000 & underline how poverty & hunger have been created by economic inequality. Thank you for helping to wake the world up to what we can do to make our lives and other lives better. xo

  • Ann

    Congratulations on completing the march –and thank you for your service!!the Thanks are from me now and some day will be form a grateful nation!

  • Paula

    So proud of you guys!! It does my heart good to see so many young adults engaged. Regardless of the repercussions, I don’t regret reaching out to you guys in Havre de Grace. You will always have my support.

  • Anonymous

    Kelley/Ephraim: The march’s goal was reached – an incredible feat – but not without preventable/avoidable physical harm marchers were stubbornly exposed to and endured under your (“I organized this march”) leadership. Yesterday, one Occupy the Highway marcher from OWS to DC, who doesn’t have health insurance, was at a nearby DC hospital with walking pneumonia, another had his big toe nails surgically removed; on Monday, a marcher was hit by a car; on day 4, a marcher incurred a shin splint; on day 2, our medic was side-lined with fever after the previous day’s march well into the night and 4-5 miles out of the way, and the embedded Washington Post reporter fell after tripping on a downed sign post in the dark of the night; on the first day, a marcher walked into an man hole, another tripped on uneven pavement, and one tripped over a pump in the dark of night — all because of youthful, egotistical stubbornness and a disdainful impatience with each other. Making better use of warmer and higher visibility daylight hours would have prevented almost all of the aforementioned incidents. As the freelance Brooklyn reporter who marched with us the entire way the first day expressed to me in Trenton, “I don’t see a team, I see 24 individuals.”

    I withdrew from marching/providing a (loaned) support vehicle for the marchers in the wee hours Monday morning in Baltimore because of your ongoing disregard for our needs directly related to all that walking (no doubt, for a great cause!). We sat on thousands of donated support dollars, even til the end, to prove what?! That only 11 of the original marchers made it to D.C.? That’s quite revealing. Five more that could have didn’t out of frustration with the lack of schedule discipline and consideration for fellow marchers (not physically incapable marchers, merely slower marchers). Friday, day 10, four OWS marchers created an emergency “Needs Working Groups,” spending about $400 from Paypal donations, mostly on food, outside of GA consensus.

    I am an Occupy the Bronx facilitator trained by another OWS facilitator who repeatedly chose rest over attending GAs and trainings because they were inconsistently held, most late at night, some in the wee hours, long after a lengthy march, on meager nutritional sustenance.

    The march may feel like water under the bridge to you. To me, the greatest challenge was simply learning from the previous days’ challenges and the group’s daily functioning rhythm. Lessons we plan on drawing from on a future mass march.

    Like you, upon returning home Monday, I found myself immediately missing the importance of what we intended to do. I feel delight in that we did succeed in raising the awareness in the communities we walked through. For me, THAT was our greatest collective success. We could have slowed down a bit to maximize those recurring opportunities with our fellow citizens, not rushing to D.C. at any expense to marchers’ health only to arrive at a virtual congressional ghost town.

    I do believe that your participation in this march, which you organized, is invaluable. Let’s apply the many lessons learned from this huge undertaking in future marches.

  • Ephraim

    Kelley/Ephraim: The march’s goal was reached – an incredible feat – but not without preventable/avoidable physical harm marchers were stubbornly exposed to and endured under your (“I organized this march”) leadership. Yesterday, one Occupy the Highway marcher from OWS to DC, who doesn’t have health insurance, was at a nearby DC hospital with walking pneumonia, another had his big toe nails surgically removed; on Monday, a marcher was hit by a car; on day 4, a marcher incurred a shin splint; on day 2, our medic was side-lined with fever after the previous day’s march well into the night and 4-5 miles out of the way, and the embedded Washington Post reporter fell after tripping on a downed sign post in the dark of the night; on the first day, a marcher walked into an man hole, another tripped on uneven pavement, and one tripped over a pump in the dark of night — all because of youthful, egotistical stubbornness and a disdainful impatience with each other. Making better use of warmer and higher visibility daylight hours would have prevented almost all of the aforementioned incidents. As the freelance Brooklyn reporter who marched with us the entire way the first day expressed to me in Trenton, “I don’t see a team, I see 24 individuals.”

    I withdrew from marching/providing a (loaned) support vehicle for the marchers in the wee hours Monday morning in Baltimore because of your ongoing disregard for our needs directly related to all that walking (no doubt, for a great cause!). We sat on thousands of donated support dollars, even til the end, to prove what?! That only 11 of the original marchers made it to D.C.? That’s quite revealing. Five more that could have didn’t out of frustration with the lack of schedule discipline and consideration for fellow marchers (not physically incapable marchers, merely slower marchers).

    Friday, day 10, four OWS marchers created an emergency “Needs Working Group,” spending about $400, mostly on food, hygiene items, outside of GA consensus. By Saturday morning, others had entered survival mode, stealing $160 from another marcher and hoarding roadside donations in a clique because we didn’t take better care of each other earlier on.

    I am an Occupy the Bronx facilitator trained by another OWS facilitator who repeatedly chose rest over attending GAs and trainings because they were inconsistently held, most late at night, some in the wee hours, long after a lengthy march, on meager nutritional sustenance.

    The march may feel like water under the bridge to you. To me, the greatest challenge was simply learning from the previous days’ challenges and the group’s daily functioning rhythm. Lessons we plan on drawing from on a future mass march.

    Like you, upon returning home Monday, I found myself immediately missing the importance of what we intended to do. I feel delight in that we did succeed in raising the awareness in the communities we walked through. For me, THAT was our greatest collective success. We could have slowed down a bit to maximize those recurring opportunities with our fellow citizens, not rushing to D.C. at any expense to marchers’ health only to arrive at a virtual congressional ghost town.

    I do believe that your participation in this march, which you organized, is invaluable. Let’s apply the many lessons learned from this huge undertaking in future marches.

    • nycmarch2dc

      I just wrote a long reply which was deleted when I went to post due my feeble internet connection. I made a few edits to my post to clarify where I was coming from with my sentiments. I will try to rewrite my reply asap, but will give a short version here now.

      I would first like to say that we spent almost $2,000 in bus tickets home for marchers from OWS, OP, OT, OB, and OD. If we had spent this money earlier there would have been nearly 40 marchers left in DC who anted to return to their respective occupations. We also spent $400 in medical costs (this money was given to our onboard medic). I am doing the books right now and will post this info asap. It looks like we’ll have about $300 extra to return to the GA and asked that it be used as a future march fund. As well, nightly public GA’s were mentioned on every flyer and elaborated on in this wordpress. I am not insensitive to injury, but many of the marchers experiencing them came unprepared or were not in the best health to begin with. We clearly stated that we would be walking an average of 20 miles a day and holding nightly GA’s in the towns where we camped. I appreciate your concerns and my sentiments were aimed at leaving the group not the march in its entirety.

      As well, my “water under the bridge” comment was not intended to describe the march as a whole. As someone who was personally attacked (orally not physically) I felt it was an appropriate action for me to say that I hold no animosity and hopefully you don’t either. Unity is stronger than a grudge and the latter won’t get you very far. This is what I meant and I apologize if it wasn’t clear. I hope we can connect via phone and discuss more of these issues. As for my “leadership” yes, I co-organized this march and wanted to stick to the goals we had set. I don’t think I was out of line here, rather, I think most people jumped on board without first educating themselves on what we were setting out to do. Outreach was a HUGE component of this march. For example, I’m still getting calls from Rutger’s students who were inspired by this march and the GA. More than 10 of these students marched 15 miles to princeton with us the next day and co-facilitated that evening’s GA. It was inspiring to see. The public GA in Baltimore and at the University of Maryland were inspiring as well. Thanks for your concerns and I hope we can talk soon. I probably won’t ever get to rewriting this so i hope this is enough clarification, for now anyway. Oh, one more thing, support vehicles were never planned for. Thank God people of the community stepped up or many more of us would be in the hospital, but we did state everywhere we could that we did not have support vehicles for this march. Just to be clear. Thanks for offering yours for a bit.

    • Ephraim

      In my initial remarks to your post the key words I expressed were “preventable/avoidable.” Exercising repeatedly suggested injury and accident prevention/avoidance practices would have been readily achieved, as I already stated, by making better use of the warmer temperatures and operationally safer daylight hours. We could have adjusted the intended “bankers hours” promoted at the outset to walk sunrise to sunset instead when we realized that we were walking more hours everyday later into the night past sunset and as late as 1AM.

      You replied to my comment above, “As for my ‘leadership,’ yes, I co-organized this march (with Michael Glazer) and wanted to stick to the goals we had set. It’s a self-admission worth re-reading. What’s the point of having GA’s if you intended on imposing your will or preserving it as long as you could, getting angry, raising your voice, cursing, even walking away several times, followed every time by meaningless apologies (meaningless because you would revert back to your personality tactics trying to impose/influence getting your way), when folks tactfully provided alternate feedback at GA’s to your sole desires?? I would very much like that you read and reflect on what I am sharing here (which a mere majority of the NYC marchers agree mostly or entirely with).

      As for our funding, it’s ridiculous to be returning nearly $300 to OWS and to still have $1500 in the Paypal account intended, and, which was, VERY MUCH NEEDED during this last march to prevent sickness, accidents, and injuries through more nutritional sustenance and other health aides as needed.

      In short, WE could have started the day earlier (as Raghu suggested at the end of day one at Ken;s house) so we could end the day earlier, operating in warmer temps of the day and maximizing daylight. You could have personally allowed for more input and yielded to differing opinions, instead of getting hostile.

      Lastly, as a part of the march up to Baltimore, I felt compelled to provide additional, even differing, insight into this journey together. I also want you to read and reflect on what I have shared before we even discuss it telephonically, so I can actually be heard. It’s been difficult to get you to listen to me, us, to this late juncture, not just hear me, us.

      Respectfully, E

      • nycmarch2dc

        Point of information: Jason has the we pay money in his account. He never went to DC and personally I have been unable to get a hold of him. By saying that I wanted to stick to the goals we had planned I don’t think that’s out of line. Michael and I planned this action-this march was not its own occupation. There is plenty of room to plan more marches. Perhaps you can plan a march that is better suited to your needs. You and others formed your own group and spent $400 with only four people’s consensus. Not to mention going out to dinner at Friendly’s while the rest of us marched and while people were getting left behind. We had to ask strangers with cars to go back and get them. I brought the nightly public GA issue to the GA and had to form an infinity group just to continue to do outreach. We reached consensus on that. I believe your feelings are yours alone as I have heard nothing like this coming from anyone else and I also feel it’s extremely inappropriate to use this comments sections for such personal issues. But if publicly shaming me is what you want than, obviously you can do that.

        Unlike some marchers, I never made autonomous actions without group consent. Additionally, Michael and I informed every person we could about our intentions for this march. I am a little concerned about the sexism of our marching group-people besides me have recognized that I have been singled out. I am not saying this is due only to my gender, but there have been many men involved in the decision making for the march as well who have not been publicly attacked. I would like to bring attention to the fact that we still live in a predominately patriarchal society where some men are immediately offended by strong women. Just throwing that out there. This sentient had been circulating with many men and women from the march.

        To continue, Changing our marching hours was never brought up by you in the GA. When Ragu mentioned it the first time most people did not want to do that. I was not facilitating (by the way facilitation is a neutral position but some people forget that-just to clarify) that discussion and I have a right to my opinions just like everyone else. Also, we never left at 9am-we were always late-just saying that it would have near to impossible for us all to leave at 6am. just my opinion. Please don’t act like I dictated as I did the exactly the opposite. Again, if you want me to listen to you I would ask that you call me (you have my info) or meet in person. Passive aggressive behavior seldom solves problems.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutly awesome ! wish I was on the east coast.
    I would suggest 50 or 100 mile distances in the future

  • heather

    Congratulations. Been following your march and am truly inspired by you all!!

  • Rich Shelley

    I congratulate all of the marchers and thank all of you for bringing the message to the people. I met some of you on the side of Rt. 40 near Baltimore. I was very emotional after that. I heard one of the young ladies whom I met speak later at Occupy Baltimore. She said many who met them along the way had tears in their eyes. I did too as I turned to get back in my van. Many of us realize the importance of the movement and are in awe of the young people taking action at so young an age. Keep up the great work! We Shall Overcome!

  • julie

    thank you for your incredible sacrifice in making this march. i hope it inspires more like it. sending love to you all.

  • X on Earth

    Congratulations! Thank you and everyone else who made it possible. We can do anything. The 1% will be stopped from destroying any chance for a sustainable future.

  • Dan

    Congratulations. Happy Thanksgiving. I Hope you found a warm and comforting welcome.
    Thanks so much for this effort and demonstration of resolve and support of economic and social and political justice.

  • Darrell

    Bravo, Greetings, Salutations, Thank you beyond all Thank yous,

    Those who bravely endured and thrived and suffered and continued from NY to Washington will remain forever in my memory as heroes of a new American revolution of non-violent change and increased cooperation and understanding among the 99%.

  • Cheri Carpenter-Lundstrom

    Thank you so much for the regular updates. I have made a point to forward them to many people. Being nearly 60 and having disabilities I can only envy your energy and youth. I am so grateful for your sacrifice and am looking forward to the upcoming videos.

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