Occupy Denton Thanksgiving Transition

By Garrett Graham

Occupy Denton has been growing strong for a month now, and those of us who have made this community happen have a lot to be thankful for. We are thankful for all of our friends and neighbors who have donated food, blankets, tents and their praise. We are thankful for the professors who have taken the time to educate us and organize workshops at the camp. We are especially thankful that UNT has respected our right to assemble, but most of all we are thankful to be a part of history. Thank you to the millions of people all across the globe that made the Occupy Together movement the biggest popular resistance to injustice and inequality that we’ve seen in generations.

I flew to Washington DC with friends and we occupied Liberty Square with thousands of others.  I am thankful for having the privilege and the opportunity to be there. When I returned home and heard about Occupy Denton I made new friends who have shared their experiences from Occupy Wall Street, Portland, Chicago, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth.  I am personally astounded at how much positive feedback we’ve received from the community. The kindness and generosity we’ve received has restored much of my faith in humanity. Our bonds of friendship and solidarity are what fuel this movement.

In the first month of Occupy Denton, we’ve organized several actions aimed at defending Denton’s public health from the poisonous effects of natural gas drilling in our community. We have also organized a town hall meeting on December 1st with the Denton City Council to directly address issues such as fracking which is a particularly destructive from of gas drilling, getting the City of Denton off of fossil fuels, helping the homeless, and promoting more bike lanes and public transportation. We’ve also hosted numerous workshops, public speakers, street theater, community art, a public library, free meals, and even bicycle repair. We’ve also begun organizing resistance to home foreclosure in Denton. We’ve done a lot in just one month, and this is only the beginning.

However, the weather is getting colder, and many people are traveling to be with their families for thanksgiving. Some have criticized the location of Occupy Denton, and we have considered their points carefully. Others are concerned that the cold will prevent people from being able to participate at the general assemblies, which are sometimes too late in the day for working people to attend. All of these criticisms are welcomed, because that is how we solve problems and improve our movement.

Our community is now undergoing a transition from the campus of UNT to a location more accessible to the Denton community at large. It was always our intention to move the camp. UNT has incubated our movement well. Occupy Denton will continue to host general assemblies in a more hospitable location to organize future actions and build a better camp.