At 4:30AM we deliver two green ceramic cups of hot coffee to the two police officers staking out our host’s home in an Elizabeth city squad car. The driver appears asleep until the passenger nudges him. The window rolls down to reveal an expression of blank surprise, eyes coming into focus on the steaming green cups. With a sudden waking moment of comprehension the driver accepts the coffee, spoons and sugar packets. He mutters a perplexed “thank you”. Our host Ken replies, “You’re welcome. Just set the cups on the porch later if you would. Good night.” We stroll back to the house in silence.
The kitchen is alive with aromas as the marchers shuffle past one another in our personal morning routines. Ken rests himself in the outdoor jacuzzi with a Coors light in hand. Our estimated morning prep time of one hour proves far off, actually turning out to be over two hours. We’re all finally packed up in the front yard together at 10:30AM.
Three police cars pull up to the house. “It was funny that the police car sat in front of the house all night”, says one of our Romanian-American marchers to a cop in a white dress shirt. On the back of his head is the same Guy Fawkes mask he left Manhattan with. “Oh, you think that’s funny huh?”, the cops replies, instantly ending the conversation. “We took your officers coffee last night”, I continue. “Oh, thanks, that was very sweet of you”, says the cop with his eyes turned away from me.
Four police vehicles block off all traffic at major Elizabeth intersections as we near crosswalks. Random well-wishers emerge from vehicles, homes and businesses, some handing out cash. Twenty dollars, fourty, fifty……..eventually a grand total of over $300 for the day! Until today we had considered the value of this march to lie in outreach, but now it appears we may also serve as fundraisers for the Occupy movement. Amazing.
The first signs of exhaustion fatigue begin to appear by noon. One of our medics sits slumped in a parking lot up against a convenience store wall, “I can’t go on. I’m gonna have to meet up with you all tonight.” Messages are sent out to certain members of our online audience who have offered to help in just such situations. Arrangements are made for a human delivery, the group marches on.
Many marchers are visibly uncomfortable by lunchtime, but yet another group of well-wishers is there at just the right moment to replenish us, physically and emotionally. A group of young families are waiting in a park with sandwiches, fruit and candy. This is the All-American crowd; big minivans and little babies in the comfy middle-class suburbs of New York City.
Two girls of no older than 8 years greet us with child-sized protest signs, standing under a shower of falling brightly colored leaves. A little boy approaches with another sign. The moms and a dad greet us with same level of enthusiasm, having arranged our lunch spread. Occupy Wall Street is no longer just the domain of lower income classes. The power for real change, a true global change, shows a bit more of itself with each passing day.
Middle class this is our plea to you: Occupy your public spaces if even for just those minutes that you take your children to the park each day. Make a sign with your children and take them out to play. They will someday thank you with all their hearts.
It pains us not to be able to stay up all night and write in great detail about all the amazing acts of solidarity and kindness witnessed every day, but we also realize that some rest is required to keep the march going. You and we are together finding great motivation in this journey, so we would be doing everyone a terrible disfavor by blindly pushing ourselves to the point of collapse. We vow to compose the missing parts of our daily story into a free e-book a week after the march has been completed.
We end tonight’s broadcast with this:
Your cheers from every corner of this beautiful blue earth are inspiring hundreds of thousands to once again love who we are as individuals and what we are as one united human race. You Laugh, We Laugh – Your Cry, Our Cry. Your free flowing support, both through technological and personal encounters, continuously leaves us in moments of humble speechlessness and raw unrestrained joy, all in the same breaths. You are each of us, all of us, and the grand ancient emotion of enlightenment could be reborn once again to bring peace for our world. Do not let your joy fade, for with this age humanity can begin to turn away from a future of annihilation and towards one of exploring this great mysterious universe together. Now could be our last chance. Let us not throw our gift of life away.…..Use your voice. Use your silence. Use yourself. Occupy.