Occupy Denver: Barbara Gawlowski & Charles Howe use occupation as lesson for daughter

Categories: Activism, News

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At noon today, Civic Center Park held a meager 12 protesters.

It is the second home of Occupy Denver, and chances are it might not be the last, but it is this park where Charles Howe and Barbara Gawlowski are watching their 6-year-old daughter Jezebel pick up a "staple" she found in the ground. "It's a tent stake, baby," her mom gently corrects her. "From when we had tents."

The evidence of a large-scale occupation is still here even if the people currently aren't. On October 14, this block of Broadway served as the setting for Jezebel's first hands-on introduction to the police, and she later watched her parents taken into custody on TV on the night of the group's eviction from Lincoln Park. Homeschooled by her mother, Jezebel's knowledge of the police has never been typical. When Gawlowski recently asked her daughter what she'd do if she got lost, Jezebel's answer betrayed both her advanced fifth-grade testing levels and an open mind: "I'd go find someone with dreads," she said.

"We think about the occupation every morning when we wake up and every night when we go to bed," Gawlowski says. "It has changed every aspect of our lives, especially how we raise and what we teach out daughter. It has inspired a sense of fear in my fearless little girl, and we're afraid to take her down on Saturdays now."

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Kelsey Whipple
Barbara Grawloski and Charles Howe are afraid to bring their daughter Jezebel to Saturday rallies.
Jezebel, who challenges occupiers to races in the park (she always wins) while her parents talk, watched their arrest, which ended in her mother's now stark broken nose. The six-year-old was there again the first time the police used pepper spray on the gathering. Jezebel currently takes lessons in a list longer than the names of people in the park -- piano, violin, drums, guitar, gymnastics, judo (soon), Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, various crafts -- but her most recent lesson, that of political activism, has been based on Broadway.

Gawlowski and Howe have spent the past three years together, and their wedding is scheduled for June 21. However, they have closer anniversaries to celebrate: Yesterday marked one month since their arrests for unlawful conduct on state property (Howe was also charged with resisting arrest), charges they encountered four days after stopping by to start a coffee bar.

Although the heater and other materials they used to do so were lost in the raid, their conviction was cemented nonetheless. "We try hard not to get too fired up anymore because we've been forbidden from getting arrested again. But it's hard to ignore the situation down here," Howe says. "From the day we were arrested in front of Jezebel, we've cared even more about the politics of the movement than we even did before."

This is not the couple's first experience with political activism: Both were at the DNC riots, and the thirty-year-old Howe was previously involved in the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle. Likewise, his 32-year-old fiancée protested the war in Iraq in New York City in the early 2000s. "We knew it was going to get heavy then because the officers wore electrical tape over their badge numbers," she says.

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"The same goes for their court dates: At a hearing this morning, Jezebel learned where the judge sits and what a county clerk is, and she knows that her parents' lawyer warned them against citing the First Amendment in their future trial. It might be banned as a defense tactic, they say." 

Someone please tell me how you can ban the 1st Amendment as a defense tactic, I would really like to know how that is legal.


I usually find Kelsey's articles the most objective, however, I think mis labeling protests as riots sends the wrong message. I have seen no rioting by the protesters of Occupy Denver since the beginning of this thing. If there is rioting, it is on behalf of the police. I did not realize that when police show up in riot gear, that it automatically gets labeled as a riot.


Saw a lot of local participants in Occupy Denver giving Kelsey Whipple props on Twitter for her coverage. I have to tell you, she is not your friend. The picture she is painting is not at all flattering. Keep to the issues, lock her out of the details of your private life.

charles howe
charles howe

Hi this is Charles Howe one of the persons featured in this article. I was just wanting to clarify a few points.

1.  Jezebel was NOT present when we were arrested. She watched it on the news.

2. We were at the DNC protests. But were not involved in a riot. We mached after the Rage Against The Machine show.

3. Barb suggested we build a RAKU` KILN used for making pottery in an out door setting. not a RACOON KILL as stated above.

if these could be addressed before it prints that would be cool.


Charles Howe

Jennifer Wohletz
Jennifer Wohletz

Unlike most major media outlets that only show up at Occupy Denver when there are photo ops of cops in riot gear, Kelsey/Westword is actually covering the movement on a daily basis, giving a voice to the actual protestors who don't always get their side written about.


Oh it's quite clear that Westword is the only major media outlet in the Denver area willing to actually cover the movement and not twist it into their own story.  I'm pointing the finger at YOU DENVER POST.  Shame shame.

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