EDITORIAL: Not the end, only the end of the beginning
|February 18, 2012||Posted by Kathryn Seidewitz under Personal Reflections, Print Issues, Volume 2, Issue 1 (January/February 2012)|
“Let’s do the one thing” someone shouted to the wet and ragged crowd. “Let’s do the one thing!” we mic checked back. “That will scare them the most” / “That will scare them the most!”; “Let’s hold a general assembly” / “Let’s hold a general assembly!”; “Right here, on K Street.” / “Right here, on K Street!”
Police officers stood like stone soldiers behind the barricades that blocked the park, staring out at us in resolute silence. I watched the drizzle of the rain in the bright police floodlights which lit our frantic gathering of the freshly displaced and downtrodden. We gathered in a tight circle. Livestreamers and photographers pushed their way into the middle – shoving phones and cameras in the faces of everyone who spoke. As the General Assembly began, the rain continued to fall. It washed away any resentment and dejection we felt. As people told their stories from that day and the occupation, our anger was replaced by a new, warm feeling.
I thought back to my first General Assembly. It was a warm October evening. There were close to a hundred people there, and the circumstances could not have been more different. When Occupy DC was set up in the fall, everyone was warm, dry, and comfortable. Yet as we faced eviction in February, it was cold and wet. Tensions were high. Yet both nights were filled with an unmistakable feeling of hope and defiance. In October, we had been optimistic. Our movement was brand new and everything was happening, all at once. We felt as if we could do anything.
By the time we left the park, on that cold February night, our hopes had evolved. We’d been pushed out of our park and the police had beaten our friends. But we were still standing. They took our park, but they could not take our spirit. Post-eviction, over the course of the next couple of hours, we drank and ate; sang songs and mic checked our views. We were boisterous and excited. It was not the end. It was only the end of the beginning. If we had been adolescents before, now we were growing stronger and stepping out on our own. It was the start of our life.
The morning after our eviction night, I slunk into a 24-hour McDonald’s and threw myself down next to two friends. After a few minutes of chatter about the day and what was next, there was a long silence. I searched for words to stem the quiet. I found none, so I said nothing. The silence lingered, noticeable and distinct. There was nothing left to say. Everything had been said and the day was done. But we would be back tomorrow.