By Jason Flores
Occupy Merced began on Oct. 15 at Courthouse Park in Merced. Organized and facilitated by young adults, college students and other citizens, they organized general assemblies the week prior to the occupation.
Occupy Merced brought together high school and college students, teachers, retired workers, families, public officials and others who have expressed their growing unhappiness with the oppressive economic, political, social and environmental conditions of the country, state and community. All age groups were represented—children, young adults, the middle-aged and the elderly. The occupation also included a campout at the park of nearly 10 people.
People began assembling at Courthouse Park at noon, and by 2 p.m. the crowd had reached nearly 150. Close to 100 signs, with slogans, statements and expressions were scattered across the park grass.
Signs covered issues that represented the concerns of the 99%, such as abolishing the Federal Reserve, the power of corporations and their “rights” as people, police brutality, unemployment, the bailout of “too big to fail” banks, the financial system, immigration policies, foreclosures, homelessness and war spending, to name a few.
The occupation of the park was a peaceful assembly, with a strong sense of unity, as the occupiers realized that they have all been exploited by the same system. With a 17.5% unemployment rate, one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, 60% of residents renting their homes and a high poverty rate, Merced has been severely affected by decisions and special interests that benefit the wealthiest of Americans, corporations, big banks and the financial system.
People in the community are demanding that government be run by, for and of the people, not the corporations and special interests. To stay connected and posted to the Occupy Merced movement, visit www.occupymerced.org.
Jason Flores is secretary of the CA Central Valley Journey for Justice and a lifelong resident of Merced. Contact him at email@example.com.