Earlier today, at least 1,000 people gathered at the Torch of Friendship in front of Bayfront Park, marching to Government Center where demonstrators came to a consensus that it was time to hunker down and show the world that Occupy Miami means business (locally owned and grown, of course).
At the rally, moms and grandmothers came out to chant and hold signs, little newborns slept on chests, hardline activists spoke out on mics, people proved really good points, and toddlers ran around with homemade signs. Kids asked, as kids do, "Can we go home now?" Retired reporter and volunteer blogger for the Democrats Larry Thorson biked ten miles to be at the rally. At least one cop handed out water and blank posters to those walking by.
Longtime Miami activist Sandy Leon thinks what happened at the Torch of Friendship earlier is wonderful. "This is just the beginning of what we hope will become a very broad and deep discussion." The discussion will now be taking place 24-hours outside of the busiest of Metrorail stops.
There were maybe a handful of your typical hysterical protesters, and yes a few Ron Paul signs, but what was most noticeable today was that the spirit of togetherness that prevailed. Even after the impromptu march, most people were happy help plan for the future of the movement. They sat on the ground surrounding the facilitators, who emphasized again and again are not the leaders, and repeated what was spoken working as human microphones so that everyone could be involved in the process.
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Once it was announced that Occupy Fort Lauderdale has begun their occupation, it was clear that Miami had to follow suit. Within two hours the decision had been made.
"We are the most diverse Occupy Wall Street spaces that there's been in terms of class and race," local activist, organizer, and now occupier Jacob Coker-Dukowitz said of what makes Miami's movement unique. "Our disorganization right now isn't disorganization, it's an expression of a new space and a new space of creativity and direction that we can move into." And they're moving in.