Preparations and Departure – Day 1 Update
Editor: Over a dozen activists from Occupy San Diego are going to Washington, DC, in response to a “call” to “Occupy DC” and Occupy Congress, which is to begin on January 17th, when Congress officially returns. About a dozen of these activists are traveling by Greyhound – and this is the first of many reports by our special OB Rag reporter for the trip, Eugene Davidovich – an OBcean. Other OSD folks are also heading to DC but later this month. Eugene will be sending us periodic reports on this historic 3000 mile journey and about what they find and do in the nation’s capital.
By Eugene Davidovich / Special to the OB Rag / January 14, 2012
On a sunny San Diego Friday afternoon, January 13 2012, a group of eleven dedicated and passionate activists from Occupy San Diego (OSD) embarked on a historic journey by bus, from the West Coast to Washington D.C.
The purpose; to stand in solidarity with a call from the D.C. Occupation for a mass convergence on Congress January 17th. A convergence of all occupations from across the nation to stand in solidarity and speak loudly for social and economic justice.
The group traveling by bus from San Diego includes; Kevin Rambo, Jr., myself, Johnny Nguyen, Michael Ponsler, Claudia Acevedo, Vivian McCardle, William Garrels, Mike Garcia, Michael Basillas, Alan Riner, Brett Thornhill, and Leslie Miller. In addition to the activists traveling bus, a number of others from San Diego are traveling by plane to D.C. and will be joining up with the rest of the group in Washington on the 17th.
The call for the convergence came in mid-December and within days of the announcement, Chris McKay, Johnny Nguyen and several others jumped into action, collectively raising over $2600 which paid for the majority of the bus tickets including clothing and gear for those who did not have cold weather gear and clothing.
At approximately 11:00am in the afternoon on Friday myself, Vivian, and Claudia were brought to the Greyhound station at 12th and Imperial in San Diego by Paula, another dedicated supporter and activist. Closer to noon others began to arrive including at least ten occupiers who came to see the group off.
“I am thrilled, excited and speechless”, Mike Garcia said a few minutes into the trip. “I hope this trip helps raise our collective consciousness in this country about the the Occupy Movement and that we bring attention to why people need to join the cause. Our country and government is broken and there is only one way to fix it. Participation.”
The bus finally departed San Diego at 1:30pm and by 2:15 was already at the San Clemente Checkpoint, where it was boarded by two border patrol agents who walked through and verified all passengers’ immigration status.
With no arrests or detentions at the check point, protest signs, and video cameras in hand, as well as plenty of snacks and drinks for the road, the bus left on it’s way to the first official stop of the trip, Los Angeles (LA).
In light of heavy traffic on the 5 North, what was supposed to be a one hour layover turned into a fifteen minute scurry to change buses. The bus pulled into the Greyhound station in LA at approximately 4:20 in the afternoon and was already on its way to the next destination by 4:30.
In LA, we picked up a new member of the crew; Laura Diamond.
“ When I heard about the Road to Congress, I had a strong and burning desire to attend.” Said Laura after boarding the bus and getting situated. “I raised over one thousand dollars for the trip by holding a raffle to sell the ‘This is Democracy’ drawing that’s on the back of my shirt as well as raise funds from my friends and family. I had people coming out of the wood works sending me money in support of the trip”.
It is unclear what’s in store for the group in D.C., but what is clear is that the trip itself will be an adventure and a great opportunity to educate the public about the occupation and the movement’s goals.
More updates to come from seat 35 of the Greyhound bus on the Road to Congress.