Occupy Wall Street is all over the news these days with images of people, young and old, in the streets protesting their frustration and anger with the role they feel large corporations play in our government’s policy making and tax structures. (I know I’m largely over-simplifying their message.) But this isn’t a post about whether you personally agree or disagree with what they are doing in Manhattan and in smaller protests around the country and world — this is about the role that parents (and their children) are playing in these gatherings
A group called Parents for Occupy Wall Street have been leading the charge on a number of family friendly activities at the NYC protest. Activities include sing-alongs with children’s musicians, arts and crafts, movies and story time. They’ve barricaded off a space at the protest site to provide a safe place for children to play while their parents participate in the protest. Feedback from those who have participated in the Parents for Occupy Wall Street child-friendly activities felt that it was a great having a way to show their support for the movement despite not having childcare arrangements for their children. Others said that having children at the event kept the mood hopeful and the crowd subdued.
One of the organizers of Parents for Occupy Wall Street, Kirby Desmarais, said this about why she felt called to organize the group, “It’s less about the kids being involved, after all my child is only 18 months and won’t remember a thing. But, more about shining light on the fact that the working middle class is supporting this movement, that it’s more than college students and the unemployed protesting, it’s also families that are speaking up on not only their own but also their children’s behalves. ”
Parents for Occupy Wall Street is even planning a family sleepover on October 21st & 22nd for families who wish to join them at the protest in Zuccotti Park. So my question to the parents who read this blog is this – Would you take your child with you to participate in a protest? (Not just Occupy Wall Street- but any issue you felt strongly about)
We all strive as parents to share our beliefs and values with our children — does this mean also including them in things like public protests when we feel those beliefs or values have been compromised? It’s an interesting question to consider.
Want to continue the conversation on Occupy Wallstreet? Check out this post- Occupy Wallstreet: Photo dispatches from the movement that is changing America.