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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy San Diego stands up to defend the First Amendment

We have been occupying the Civic Center for 19 days.  Today we attended the San Diego City Council meeting for the second time in two weeks, again asking the City Council to pass a resolution supporting our occupation, as the City of LA did for Occupy Los Angeles. Last week we asked the Council to put Occupy San Diego on the agenda. They did not. So we were again limited to the public discussion portion of the meeting, which only gives 3 minutes to any individual topic.  Individuals from our occupation signed up to discuss various topics related to Occupy San Diego, such as the people’s library, sanitation and health, the evolution of Democracy, free speech and the first amendment. One of our occupiers Jersey, got up to speak on the topic of Occupy San Diego in general.  She called a mic check and about 50 of us delivered the message through a people’s mic.  This is what we said:
I am Michelle Doich, I usually go by 'Jersey'. I am a concerned citizen, a college graduate, a tax-payer, and a full time employee of the City of San Diego, an activist, part of the working-class, part of the 99%, and an Occupier of San Diego. Last week I was maced and brutalized by the San Diego Police Department, at the Civic Center, while peacefully protesting for our right to Free Speech and our right to Assemble, and Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances. Our right to Protest has been destroyed by the City.  SDPD have taken our tents, medical equipment, books, food, sanitation resources and property, sleeping bags and physically brutalized and arrested protesters. You have the power to protect community members and our right to protest. Protect us from violence and aggression.  (she then turned to the crowd an used the Human Microphone) Mic check.  We represent the Occupy San Diego protest. Our protest is protected by our constitutional rights.  You took an oath to uphold our constitution.  Therefore we request that you respect and uphold our right under the 1st Ammendment of our Constitution.  Please endorse our peaceful protest action against undue corporate or monetary influence on our government.  The Los Angeles City Council adopted a resolution supporting the Occupy Los Angeles protest.  We want the same respect here and from you.  Similar to LA our protest will have tents, canopies, power ad portable restrooms.  We will continue to have a medical tent, food, educational materials and media support.  We will continue to Occupy Civic Center plaza and expansion park areas.  We asked you to place this item on the agenda at the last meeting.  You did not, so we ask you again.  Here is a copy of the proposed resolution.  Please call a special meeting to propose this agenda item immediately.  Under the Brown Act you can discuss this and place it on the agenda now.  If you do not place it on your agenda we will accept this as consent to our protest, and plan for our constitutional rights.  Again if you do not place this on the future agenda at this time we will accept your passive consent to reoccupy the Civic Center Plaza and Children’s Park and your action will be evidence of your support of our constitutional rights.
Before she finished her speech she was interrupted by council member Tony Young that her time was up.  Jersey finished anyhow.  After she was done speaking the crowd started chanting “we are the 99%” and “support us now.”  In response the council exited the room and ended the council meeting, even though we had 45 minutes of open public time left.  Council member Marti Emerald stayed and seemed to be encouraging her colleagues to stay. We thank her that out. Occupy San Diego will continue attempting to get our proposal on the docket for the City Council meeting.

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