One of the last formal interviews I conducted at Occupy Oakland, with audio recorder and critical questions, was with Shake, who I found to be one of the most articulate and forceful proponents for OO that I’ve ever talked to.
Shake has been at OO from the very beginning, and in this excerpt from testimony at last night’s city hall meeting, he eloquently expresses some of the same fantastic things I noted from Occupy Oakland from the beginning.
Hello my name is Shake Anderson…I’m here representing Oakland as a third generation resident. So as a third generation resident, someone that’s been here, I’ve seen this city transform, and I’ve seen what’s happening with this occupation movement. I’ve been here from day one on the ground, dealing with people…I know how to deal with people, I deal with conflict resolution as a part of my life and some of these people are mentally ill, some of these people don’t have homes, some of these people don’t have opportunities to do anything
…what this occupation actually has done for these people is give them a purpose, is give them a reason to actually get up in the morning and be useful in a society that has forgotten all about them. And the society says, cause you’re a drug dealer or a drug addict you have no value, this gives them value. They have a reason to do something that’s productive for society, even though its a small society…it reflects the overall society.
We have GA’s which is exactly what this is, where we talk about issues. But the difference about occupation? A lot of times, those issues we talk about, we actually do something about it.
My key point…is to address the simplicity of what we’re doing here. We’re feeding people and we’re giving them a place to stay and that’s exactly what you should be doing. But you’re not, and we’re doing it for you. So all we ask is to help. Don’t hinder this, help it. All you’re doing is stopping what’s already happened…helping people and giving them the opportunity to be valuable in a society that’s forgotten all about them.