Voices of Champaign-Urbana Occupy

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Voices of Champaign-Urbana OccupyBy Rachel Storm


Voices of Champaign-Urbana Occupy is a print space devoted to documentation, editorials, and commentary from those living here in Champaign-Urbana who identify with the Occupy Wall Street movement.  The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of Occupy Champaign-Urbana as a collective.Local Occupy Fuses Arts and Activism at ‘ARTS UNDERGROUND’
While small towns organizing within the Occupy Wall Street Movement don’t get the national attention the larger cities do, our local Champaign-Urbana Occupy is stirring things up in the community, from the street (“Occupy a Street Corner” weekly protests) to the radio waves (“Occupy the Air,” Saturdays form 12-1:30pm on 90.1 FM).

On Friday, February 24th, over 40 people gathered in the basement of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center for “ARTS UNDERGROUND: An Occupation of Radical Art-Making.” The event, organized by Occupy Champaign-Urbana with support from the School for Designing a Society, brought together musicians, artists, activists, and performers for a night of art-making devoted to Occupy.  The idea behind the event was to create art and literature for dissemination in Champaign-Urbana and beyond—demonstrating that Occupy Champaign-Urbana is thriving, engaged in addressing local issues from labor and environmental injustices at Flex n’ Gate to construction of the local satellite jail, local foreclosures and evictions, and national campaigns to end corporate personhood. At ARTS UNDERGROUND, occupiers young and old gathered to create work that spoke to the issues in the hearts and minds of the 99%.

Participants created zines* (self-published books), posters, collages, prints, and performances—all designed in the spirit of Occupy. Two collaborative projects that grew out of the event were a collective zine titled “Why I Occupy” which will feature a page from each attendee, and an Occupy Sumi Ink drawing that invited all attendees to add to ink images until they formed a large ink mural (examples of both are displayed here).

The event, which was supported through donations of food from Pekara, Common Ground Food Co-Op, and the Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant, and supplies from the I.D.E.A. store, showcased the power of the arts as activist practice. As one participant said, “there has never been an event like this in Champaign-Urbana.” Look forward to more ARTS UNDERGROUND from our local Occupy Wall Street movement.

Get involved in local Champaign-Urbana Occupy! We have a variety of weekly opportunities:

7:30 to 9pm | Independent Media Center* | Outreach Committee Meetings
Enter through the Elm Street Basement entrance.Wednesdays
7:30 pm | Urbana Free Library | Anti-Eviction Committee MeetingsFridays
6pm-9pm | Champaign Public Library | Occupy Champaign-Urbana General Assembly MeetingsSaturdays

12pm-3pm | Occupy the Air, 90.1 FM, WEFT
2pm-4pm | Occupy a Street Corner (Different corner is designated each week.)

Upcoming Dates:
Mar. 31st, 2012 | Occupy Champaign-Urbana’s Grassroots Activist Training Summit
May 18 – 21st | G8/NATO
Mar. 15th-18th | Occupy the Midwest Convergence in St. Louis

Do you identify with the Occupy Wall Street movement? Would you like to Occupy readership with us? Submit an article to the Voices of Champaign-Urbana Occupy by e-mailing voicesofcuoccupy@gmail.com. To learn more, contact us online at www.occupycu.org or join us via our Facebook Fanpage “Occupy Champaign-Urbana.”

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