- This Week
A mechanic, a nurse, a leukemia patient, a cat owner, and a pair of queer activists: Don't believe the hype, they are occupiers too
Jessica Martin: "My mother stood on the steps [of the Lincoln Memorial] in D.C. with Martin Luther King."GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE
Doty, 32, recently moved to the Bay Area from Albuquerque, New Mexico. An artist who also does spoken word performances, he's camped overnight at Occupy Oakland and has incorporated words and images from the Occupy movement into his artwork and poetry.
He's also been personally impacted by tragedies arising from police interactions: Both his stepbrother and his cousin — a veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder — were shot and killed by police in New Mexico.
Occupy Oakland "has managed to create a community out of chaos," Doty said. "I think that this movement is going to continue to grow. It's the 1960s all over again, but it's broader. It's going to be a long road. I think encampments, marches, and protests are going to continue into the next year."(Bowe)
Ernest Doty's next art show is Dec. 2 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Sticks + Stones Gallery, 815 Broadway, in Oakland.
Nate Paluga deals with camp conflict
Guardian photo by Mirissa Neff
Does this man look like he's an occupier? Depends on your perception of the movement. He's not homeless — he's a bike mechanic who lives in Nob Hill and whose girlfriend only tentatively accepts that he's camping in Justin Herman Plaza. He is young, blunt, and possesses the intense gaze of an activist, belied by a snug red-white-and-blue biker's cap with "USA" emblazoned on the underbelly of its brim.
Paluga, a self-proclaimed philosopher, has grabbed upon the concepts of "fairness and equality" as the core values of Occupy. "This movement means something different to different people, but I haven't found anyone that disagrees with those being some core values," he said as he showed off the bike he uses to move as much as 100 pounds of food and equipment for the camp.
His core values are his guidelines in his other role at Occupy SF: peacekeeper. Paluga said he and others often intervene in the disagreements that can arise in a group-run housing situation populated by diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
He said that with aggressive individuals it's important to reinforce why they're all there. "They're coming from places where there wasn't a lot of equality and justice and they're bringing that with them. You gotta step in and tell them it's gonna be okay." (Caitlin Donohue)
Two Horses' permanent protest
Guardian photo by Mirissa Neff
Two Horses might have the most welcoming tent at Occupy SF. Brightly stocked flowerboxes and a welcome mat are outside; inside, the one-time property manager and current homeless man has arranged an air mattress, carpet, and princess accommodations for his 12-year-old blind white cat Luna. There's even a four-foot tall kitty tower.
The agile feline moves toward the sound of his hand tapping on the floor. "I like the idea of a 24-hour protest," said Two Horses. He came to the camp a few weeks ago and was impressed by the quality and availability of food available in the encampment's kitchen, where he said donations come from all over ("it comes from the 99 percent") at all hours of the day and night.
"I knew I had to do something, so I started volunteering." He now works the late shift, a core kitchen staffer.