Occupy Ashland has worked diligently over the last few weeks to let citizens know that “We are the 99 percent,” or the majority of the population that is not considered wealthy. Now, the protest is focusing on creating concrete goals for the future and recruiting more support.
The movement was originally started as a response to Occupy Wall Street, a protest against corporate greed in New York. Smaller movements in communities have been cropping up across the country, including Occupy Ashland.
“Outreach is very important: in order to have an impact on how our system operates, we must involve people from all sectors of our community,” said Evan Lasley, one of the protest organizers. “Right now we are looking for the best ways to broaden the movement, focusing on tangible issues in the Rogue Valley that affect those who live here.”
Among the goals of the Occupy Ashland protesters are “investing in our local economy, stopping illegal mortgage foreclosures, and empowering those who have been disenfranchised by this system to create their own solutions to the problems they face,” said Lasley.
Protesters have also been working to get their voices heard by government representatives. Emery Way, another protest organizer, pointed out that Occupy Ashland is not only about protesting corporate greed, but creating a movement as a whole within the community to address issues that need attention.
So far the atmosphere among the protesters has been “very positive,” said Way in an email interview, with an estimated 30 people showing up at the organization’s general assemblies and more during big events.
The next event for Occupy Ashland, Global Bank Transfer Day, will be on Nov. 5. Protesters are urging citizens to transfer their money from large corporate banks to regional banks and local credit unions.
“It is a clear message to the 1 percent that we will not support their unethical business practices,” said Lasley.