Dec. 28 marked the one-year anniversary of the Bellingham police take down of the Occupy Bellingham encampment at Marine Heritage Park and the arrest of four peaceable persons who used their voices and presence for free speech.
We have had a year for the Bellingham police, the city attorney, and the people of Occupy to sift through memories. The camp was a place we could gather to talk with people we could trust and work with as we discussed and protested the corporate privatization of what we long regarded as our commons - schools, prisons, parks, the postal service. We chanted "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" and we felt satisfaction on "Bank Transfer Day" when a significant number of local people moved their money from the big banks to our local banks and credit unions. We were amazed at the aromatic, tasty food that appeared each day for all to enjoy. We remember stories of students struggling to afford to stay in college and of older veterans who have felt left out for decades. We remember the loyal Veterans for Peace holding their beautiful flags at the Holly Street entrance to the camp.
But we also carry some hurt and suspicion of a police force of 40 officers in riot gear coming that wet, cold Wednesday morning to oppose citizens with no record of violence. We are disappointed with the city attorney who continues to press misdemeanor trespassing charges against people in a public park in the middle of the day.
With the information and friendships we have made we continue to expose and to work against the corporate greed that I believe is ruining our environment, our economy and our democracy. We believe the people of Bellingham can do better.
Alyce V. Werkema