Occupy OKC 10/17/11

posted in People, Photography on Oct 17, 2011

I had a chance this afternoon to observe the goings on in the OccupyOKC movement happening in downtown Oklahoma City. I was able to speak with a few of the folks in and around the area regarding the movement, and armed with my trusty camera, took the images below.

As I walked through the camp snapping images, I invariably came in contact with some of the protestors that have set up camp in the Robert S. Kerr Park. I spoke at length with a woman named Boston who explained to me how the area was set up and discussed her thoughts on the movement. She told me that she had been in the area every day that the occupy movement had been going on there. The group is currently paying $55 per day for the permit to stay in the park. Since they have been there, they have begun to feed and shelter some of the local homeless as well.

Like the other movements around the country and around the world, there was no single person that lead anything in the group, but a consensus seemed as though it was formed on what to do during the day. Also like the other movements, no prevailing message was the center of attention over others. What I gathered from my discussion and through signage, though, was that there was certainly a great deal of frustration with the division of wealth and the money bouncing around in the government, sentiments shared among all of the Occupy groups.

On my way out of the camp, I spoke to a construction worker on a project within viewing range of the protests. I asked him what he had seen and if he had any general thoughts on the Occupy movement. He mentioned that he had noticed dwindling numbers in activists over the last few days, noting that the past Thursday seemed to have the most, with dozens showing up. While the un-unified nature of the movement works to the advantage of getting multiple messages across, it doesn’t necessarily convey a sense of focus to the masses. This worker told me he didn’t know if simply staying downtown for multiple days was what “occupying” was all about, or if there was something more to it. We agreed that camping in the park was part of the whole, but not the whole itself in terms of getting the message across. The last point we discussed regarding the numbers on display in OKC versus other cities is the fact that our cost of living is so much less than the more developed cities that have much larger groups of activists. He didn’t say that that was the main reason for the low numbers in his opinion, but that it could certainly be a contributing factor.

All in all, it was a very interesting afternoon. One of the Occupiers asked if I wanted to take more photos of the group and their activities. That remains to be seen, due to my schedule. I would, though, like to see how things look in the late afternoons and night times when more people can get aways from work to gather, so I might go back later this week.