Today a friend and I went up to the financial district to join the Occupy Chicago protesters. Occupy Chicago is part of the larger Occupy movement that started with Occupy Wall Street. The protests began on September 17th, when 1,000 protesters marched through New York City to protest the influence big business has over government. The protests have since spread to over seventy cities across the world, Chicago being one of them. For the past fifteen days, protesters have gathered at the corner of Jackson and LaSalle to sing, dance, play drums, and stand together to make their voices heard.
Maybe it comes from several years living in Washington, DC, but I love peaceful public protests. I love the spirit that emerges as people come together around a common cause. At one point a musician joined us. He performed for a while, and then an impromptu drum circle emerged. People played five-gallon buckets, upturned plastic barrels, and sticks covered in duct tape. The musicians ranged in age from eight to mid-sixties, men and women, from various races, economic backgrounds, and places in life. Over the din, a series of voices led us in chants. Dancers weaved throughout the crowd. The movement was lively, it was festive, and it was spontaneous. I am glad that such a spirit exists in the world. May the Occupy protesters remind us of the joy and the power of community.