A year since the start of Occupy Wall Street movement
It has been a year since a protest in New York City, titled Occupy Wall Street, spread nationwide. Among the places where the movement took hold was Syracuse. YNN's Bill Carey says a year later, much has changed.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- As crowds gathered in New York City for mass protests, Scott McGrody set up a chair in downtown Syracuse. His version of Occupy.
“Solidarity with the people down in New York. Doing our part here since we couldn't get down there,” he said in October of 2011.
And as was the case in other cities, the protest began to grow. Soon, Perseverance Park, a small strip of land in the center of downtown Syracuse, was host to a small tent city and a group of demonstrators. It was a protest that city officials allowed to continue, for a time. Just after 100 days, the city claimed protesters were violating a deal not to use propane gas to heat tents and police moved in to break up the encampment.
“I'm incredibly disappointed in Mayor Miner. She tried to show support. She tried to look like she was on our side. And then she came down and, basically, on a trumped up charge, shut us down and took down our tents,” Jon Grey said in January.
A year after it all began, organizers argue they did have an impact.
“It started with one guy sitting in a lawn chair and it grew so, obviously, it got into some people's heads,” Occupy Syracuse Organizer Maria Face said.
But it has clearly lost momentum. The anniversary was to have been marked by a protest at Syracuse City Hall. When the time arrived for the demonstration, there were no demonstrators.
The organizers of Occupy Syracuse say once they lost their home base at Perseverance Park, it was difficult to hold the movement together.
Face said, “ People didn't have a place they could come to and ask questions. I think, even though we don't have a presence any more, the little bit of presence we did have down there for the short period of time we did, has changed a lot of conversation. Has made a lot of people more aware of what's going on when it comes down to the economic inequality.”
It's a message Face claims still resonates.
“We want to see jobs come back to Syracuse because, without jobs, we can't recover,” Face said. “We want to see people who want to work get to working.”