Today, I’m thinking a lot about Occupy.
No, I’m not simply being late to the party – I know that Occupy Wall Street celebrated its one-year anniversary some weeks ago with a glorious 135 or so arrests in New York and a smattering of media attention. But today, October 10th, marks the one-year anniversary of Occupy Oakland– the most notorious and widely controversial “Occupy” of the nation. And, in spite of all of its many challenges and inadequacies, the one closest to my heart.
A year ago, Occupy Oakland started as a dozen or two dozen folks sleeping in a park – which is nothing much to shake a stick at, believe me, because people sleeping in parks is hardly news in downtown Oakland. as far as political activities go, I’ve attended dozens of actions with more organization, more arrests, more media, more puppets and far wittier banners. But somehow, in a matter of months, Occupy Oakland became a driving force that helped sweep this apathetic nation off its feet.
A little pinpoint of light that became a spark, and then a movement. Like a wildfire. Like falling in love.
Falling in love is about making a connection – and Occupy did that, it made the connection between the unemployed steel workers and the students drowning in debt and homeowners facing foreclosure in the face of nation-wide corporate bailouts.
by: Riyana Rebecca Sang on December 21st, 2011 | Comments Off
Last night, a miracle occurred for this Pagan-Jewish girl: the Winter Solstice and the first night of Chanukah, sacred holidays devoted to the coming back of the light, happened on the same night.
Last year’s Winter Solstice coincided with a full lunar eclipse for the first time in 400 years, and in that moment I felt a tremendous shifting of the energies of the planet and a powerful, beautiful dawning of a new era. This year has indeed proven to be one of seemingly unimaginable shifts and a global social awakening unlike anything we’ve seen before, which left me wondering – what does the synchronistic alignment of these two holy days portend for the coming year?
Continuing on with the theme of synchronicity, it just so happened that the wisest and most well-studied Jewitch that I know had traveled down from Washington to celebrate the solstice with my pagan community in San Francisco, and just as all of this was occurring to me, I found him kneeling by our bonfire on Ocean Beach lighting two white candles in the sand.
by: Riyana Rebecca Sang on December 15th, 2011 | Comments Off
On Monday morning I awoke before dawn and somehow managed to crawl out of bed, fumble my jeans and boots on, and sling my drum and backpack – the one that has become the indefinite home for my first aid kit, a patchwork bag of herbal tinctures, a squirt bottle half-full of milk of magnesia, a bottle of bubbles, and some lavender essential oil – over my shoulder.
As I checked my back pocket one more time for my ID and locked the back door, the clock on the microwave read 5:08 AM. By 5:39 AM, I was snaking through the dark streets of West Oakland in what seemed to me to be a much-too-small crowd, mostly quiet except the occasional heartbeat of a lone drum or the sleepy but hopeful cheer that rose up as we passed under the overpass of Mandela Parkway. It was somehow comforting to hear our own voices echoing off the walls – it helped us remember our power.
You better believe I was asking myself the same questions that CNN, the Huffington Post, the BBC, and Mayor Quan had that morning: Why on earth are we doing this? Are you absolutely out of your gourd, trying to shut down all of the major ports on the West Coast?