Occupy Houston wants to clean up your city…and yes, this means you.
Occupy Houston is the local observance of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement, which was hatched by the Canadian magazine Adbusters, and while the campaign has certainly ruffled the feathers of municipalities across the United States, the Houston chapter seems to have it’s sights set on more sustainable actions.
One of their directives is a city-wide invitation to help them sweep the downtown streets on a monthly basis. The group is currently asking for seventy upright “lobby-dustpans” and brooms to fulfill their ongoing “Clean Sweep” project on November 13th. This recurring event aims to clear the thirty-five downtown streets of trash in an attempt to spread awareness about the growing lack of municipal funds, and more specifically, the effect this situation is having on the fair city. Participants of Clean Sweep are treated afterward to a feast that is provided by other caring citizens and local organizations. The Occupiers are determined in providing solutions that are available to everyone and exhibit the “can do” attitude of Houstonians, and it appears they are just getting started.
While other occupations were beset with raids, arrests, and the discord of general state resistance, the Occupy Houston movement was throwing a “Corporate House of Horrors” party, an Open-Mic Talent Show, and even a “Zombie Flashmob” set to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at several prominent downtown banks. OH members are heard frequently on 90.1 KPFT as well as numerous other radio and Internet sources and have even attracted the interest of Democracy Now’s Juan Gonzales and Olympian Juan Carlos is scheduled to visit on November 11th.
The Occupy Houston members also regularly host cultural activities and civic events that encourage citizens not only to become involved in their community, but to be valued by their community. This unprecedented type of crowd-sourcing is not unheard of, but it is not necessarily valued by politicians, who continuously require more and more monies to get their projects off the ground. The local Occupy movement leverages the power of the people to fulfill their given agendas, and the members of their Outreach group have also started a sustained dialogue with the Mayor, City Council, as well as other at-large candidates, Green Party representatives, and delegates from employment and cultural sectors. Members of their Outreach program are continually attending and providing educational events and spreading the word of unity amongst Houston’s diverse cultural base.
Houston Occupiers are using solar-panels and marine batteries for some of their power, and have even called upon a private recycling company, and their new solar oven is just getting warmed up. Members also provide labor to local gardens in an effort to bring new food sources into the group, while feeding compost back to personal gardens in an efficient circular model.
As more and more money is siphoned out of our economy by the alleged “One Percent”, the Houston Occupiers seem to be focused on solutions that embrace the ecological ideas of “permaculture”. This ideal is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature. This model appears in stark contrast from the system that has perpetuated itself throughout America. As pundits and mainstream media continue to polarize people and issues, the OH movement is focusing it’s efforts in a direction that rejects this systemic failure of perception. They seek congruency at the fundamental core of all actions, and they merely ask for sustainable solutions to be brought to their attention. During these times of widening economic uncertainty, this method is not lost on an increasingly discerning public, and the people are clearly responding to the call.
The organizers are hoping that their Clean Sweep project migrates to other cities as well, and that donors realize they can help their own city in a variety of tangible ways. From donating food, to dustpans, or just some time to thank the participants, there’s so many ways for everyone to contribute, which seems to be the backbone of the Occupy movement. It is clear that Occupy Houston members are looking towards a more sustainable future, and they definitely hope it’s contagious.
For more information about Occupy Houston, please visit www.OccupyHouston.org
Donations can be dropped anytime at Tranquility Park at 400 Rusk in downtown Houston.
Financial donations can be made from the WePay link on the Occupy Houston homepage.
Share support via social media at www.facebook.com/OccupyHouston