Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 4, 2011, 2:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
The participants of Occupy Wall Street are working for a better quality of life for the 99%. We are everyday Americans who want our voices and every voice to count in the political process. We want policy that looks out for all of our health and economic well-being — not a system that's rigged to look out for only the interests of the very wealthy and powerful.
While we work for these goals, we also occupy a physical space in lower Manhattan, and we work hard to create a safe, secure, and positive environment for everyone who comes to Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park). We have been working diligently to be good neighbors to area residents and businesses. Here are some of the ways we have been making measurable progress on quality of life issues:
Toilets: Installed. Despite denials of permits by the City, Occupy Wall Street participants have worked diligently with the help of local officials to secure 24/7 access to toilets within reasonable distance of Liberty Square. Starting today, OWS is providing access to porta-potties in a private, well-lit space with 24-hour security, only 2 blocks away from the square. The portable toilets will be maintained by a professional service, and OWS volunteers are blanketing Liberty Square with fliers directing people to the facilities.
Sanitation: Active and effective. Occupy Wall Street has a volunteer sanitation working group that has included hundreds of participants who maintain the park, making sure that anything left discarded is disposed of, sweeping, and cleaning. Their work is particularly important after rainstorms. At any given moment, a visitor to Liberty Square will find volunteers engaged in maintenance and cleaning throughout the park.
Security/Community Watch: Active and delivering results. Occupy Wall Street is in a public space in a major metropolis. We acknowledge that there are security challenges that accompany that fact. We have a multi-stakeholder Security Team versed in nonviolence and de-escalation tactics, as well as an overnight Community Watch, whose job is to ensure that everyone is safe. There have been cases of individuals with predatory intentions coming to the space and assaulting Occupy Wall Street participants. OWS security and volunteers has expelled such individuals, and when there was criminality involved, turned the individual over to the police.
Noise Level: Reduced and time-limited. We recognize that the drumming the first few weeks of Occupy Wall Street was excessive for many local residents. Stakeholders throughout the OWS community, including the activist-drummers, worked to provide guidelines and Pulse—the drummers working group—has self-regulated for the past week and a half to limit drumming to a total of four hours per day (12pm-2pm, 4pm-6pm). When new people arrive without knowledge of our drumming hours, a member of Pulse now approaches them to explain the policy to them.
NYPD Barriers to Business: Down. Some local businesses have been glad to have Occupy Wall Street in the area, and have reported a boom in their business because of OWS participants, and massively increased visitors to Liberty Square. Other businesses have complained about losses, mostly blaming the barricades erected by police after the occupation started. OWS and the neighborhood have requested a removal of these barricades, and thankfully many are now coming down after Community Board 1 and local officials made it clear they were a problem. Additionally, OWS has launched local business outreach initiatives, including the Street Vendor Project, which will encourage supporters of Occupy Wall Street to remotely purchase food from local vendors for OWS participants: http://streetvendor.org/ows
We will continue to work hard to improve the quality of life at and around Zuccotti Park, as we continue pursuing our larger purpose of improving the quality of life for all. Since the arrival of a new grassroots economic justice movement represented by Occupy Wall Street’s, we have helped to block new debit card fees the big banks wanted to impose on millions of Americans; helped homeowners win easier terms on mortgage debt and college grads on student debt; and opened a broad national conversation on income inequality and economic justice that is leading to real change. We will keep working locally, nationally and globally to demand a more just economy and better lives for all.