Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Annual Occupy Thanksgiving Celebration

   Reader Supported News

By Scott Galindez
Reader Supported News

25 November 11 - I arrived at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, just after midnight on Thanksgiving Day, where most were already asleep in their tents. I made my way to the info table where two volunteers were there to welcome me. They showed me to my tent, which was provided by a kind woman named Crystal who was home visiting her family for Thanksgiving.

I decided to head to McPherson Square to check out the Occupy K Street encampment before calling it a night. It was much livelier, the protesters are younger there and they are located near some hip DC nightclubs.

I finally settled into my tent around 3 am and got a few hours sleep. I awoke to a busy park; there was a charity run for hunger relief in the area. The real heroes of the day were busy in the kitchen making breakfast and preparing to cook the Thanksgiving meal for the Freedom Plaza community.

The kitchen, led by Tom, is very organized. Everyone was pitching in with cleanup and unloading donations from members of the community. The cooks were fantastic, Tom and his crew pulled out all the stops. One of the highlights of the meal for me was the mac and cheese, too bad Pat Robertson wasn't around to try some.

There was shrimp wrapped in bacon along with all the usual trimmings. There were four turkeys, three were donated already cooked, and one was a masterpiece that was deep-fried on-site by Tom. Many of those in the camp came down from New York or other encampments, and I heard many touting this as the best kitchen among all of the Occupies.

For me, this was the first Thanksgiving in years that I felt like I was at home. Home, to me, is living in a community of people working for change. That spirit was present in Freedom Plaza this Thanksgiving. Following the meal a makeshift theatre was set up and Occupiers watched movies.

I will be embedded in Freedom Plaza for the next week before moving on to Zuccotti Park where 5,000 people were served a Thanksgiving meal. I will be reporting from Occupy encampments for the next few months. Tonight I am thankful that I am part of a community that is working to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. And we at Reader Supported News are thankful for the support you have shown us.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

Scott Galindez is the Political Director of Reader Supported News, and the co-founder of Truthout.

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