Occupy Miami is both smarter and more dedicated than you think.
Yesterday, about 40 occupiers joined about 150 police officers to sit in on negotiations with the police union and county commissioners.The cops and the county did not come to an agreement, but it was a hopeful encounter.
Terrence Dasher, who makes sure everybody eats at the campsite and has been out there since day one, was at the meeting. "We were there to support the police. We don't want them to take a budget cut, because we need cops on the street to keep our streets safe. If they take a 1 percent budget cut, it means somebody will be laid off."
The dedicated protesters who remained out in the relentless rain for four nights and three days finally saw sun this morning. They are protesting government economic policies that affect, well, all of us, even the cops who might, at some point, be their biggest threat.
Yesterday at camp Occupy Miami, there were fewer protesters but more tents. People were still standing around, out in the drizzle, talking politics and logistics.
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They looked clean. No smell of pot or patchouli. Though muddy, everything was orderly, and Food Not Bombs was providing an abundance of chow. The homeless, who at first were territorial, were now well fed and not complaining about their new neighbors.
Lloyd is a guitarist studying music at Miami Dade College who makes a living at a part-time job. He's been squatting since the first day of the protest. He says that Tuesday night around 10 p.m., a man showed up who had been protesting on Wall Street since day five. He gave a pep talk and told Occupy Miamians what problems they'd been running into in New York. "It actually made me tear up a bit," Lloyd says.
Freelance writer Aaron Pabon hasn't slept at the Miami site. But he's been there every day to stay on top of the movement. "There's just that sense of community is what I'm astounded by." Though everyone has a different issue that affects them the most, he believes change is what unites them. "Everybody wants change in the economy. Everybody wants change in the government."
Everybody wants a change, especially in the weather. Click back this afternoon for a day in the life of an Occupy Miami protester.
Oh, and FYI, general assemblies take place at 1:30 and at 6:30 p.m. during the week. A musical concert is being planned for Saturday evening.