Occupy New Haven Protests

Liz De La Torre

Two months into the Occupy Wall Street protests, the “We are the 99 percent!” chants only seem to be getting stronger. While the New York protests are being challenged by the antagonistic nature of police and Wall Street workers alike, Occupy New Haven has managed to sustain a month of peaceful dissent, even going so far as building rapport with city officials and police who advise them on the “best way to handle things within the limits of the law.” Since it began on Oct. 15 with just 1,000 faithful, Occupy New Haven has accumulated thousands of people to contend social and economic disparity in New York and elsewhere in what one protester calls an encouraging sign of solidarity: “This encampment might feel small, but it’s part of something so big it can literally move people to shut down whole cities.”

Consistently reinforcing itself with assembly meetings and contributions for food, blankets, and money, the movement in New Haven has been no stranger to obstacles. Through the intense October storm and disputes within the group that have divided people on certain matters of opinion, Drew Peccerillo said activists, true to their cause, are “here for the long haul” and are willing and prepared to handle anything that comes their way. In fact, as New Haven protesters made their way to New York City to join their Occupy counterparts for National Day of Action on Nov. 17, hundreds were arrested. Peccerillo reiterated: “Until there’s change, we’re going to be here.”

As of now, Occupy New Haven is reaching out to other organizations such as New Elm City Dream, the New Haven Area Council, New Haven Peace Council as well as churches, college students, and unions. Fellow activist Chris Garaffa emphasizes the importance of these connections as a way to get the meaning of their fight across, so that change will happen: “Our movement needs to continue to build, to continue to grow, to continue to expand; and we need to keep doing what we’re doing until we see the change we’re here to make.”