Occupy Denver votes on statement to protect female and LGBTQ presence within its ranks

Categories: Activism, News

woman sign tiny.jpg
In light of the recent creation of Liberate Denver, an occupation offshoot focused on safer spaces and better internal relationships, Occupy Denver proper has had a few decisions to make. Last night, this meant a vote to officially recognize the roles of the female and LGBTQ members inside the movement. The new wording, while more symbolic than immediately practical, comes with a firm understanding that any discrimination will be more than frowned upon in the future.

In past weeks, internal unrest, particularly in regard to gender and equality issues, sparked the creation of Liberate Denver, a gathering of protesters who either support the occupation or have cut ties with the local branch in order to create a safe community space. The group currently has 108 fans on Facebook and meets on Wednesdays at the American Friends Service Committee space at 901 W. 14th Ave.

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Kelsey Whipple
A family sets up a tent in Civic Center Park before a Saturday altercation with police.
"Women and transgendered people are marginalized here and treated as 23rd-class citizens inside the movement," protester Kerri Kellerman told Westword. "People here want change for themselves, but right now it doesn't feel like they want equality. We have homeless people and addicts and tweakers just like every other group does, and we have to support all of our members equally."

In the meantime, Occupy Denver has begun to address the problem itself with a statement released this morning. Last night's 7 p.m. general assembly ended with the decision to take a stance on the issue in an effort to improve it in the future.

The message is clear. "Equality means impact," the statement reads. "But for women and LGBTQ people to participate equally in the Occupy movement, we must be safe in occupied spaces. We know that harassment and assault happens everywhere -- and that the Occupy movement is no more immune to it than our nation's parks and parking lots -- but we also know that a movement where women and LGBTQ individuals are not safe is not a movement that serves the interests of the 99%."

The statement concludes with a call for the empowerment of women and LGBTQ representatives at general assemblies, so that decisions may be more diverse. The decision was supported in unison with a "Good Neighbor Policy" that condemns drug and alcohol abuse, verbal abuse and the abuse of personal or public property and sanitary regulations in the park.

Occupy Denver plans to make signs attesting to this decision and encourage security monitors to promote the awareness of the new policy and enforce its meaning.

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver: Ideological split spurs idea for Liberate Denver to fight oppression."

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Today i sent an e-mail to the WH, and i am hoping people will call and or e-mail the WH with similar sentiment:Let's start calling the White House [202-456-1111] to send the President a message something like: We need you, our President, to stand up for our 1st Amendment Rights and stop the police brutalization in our cities against all patriotic Americans known as the 99%. About a week or so ago an 84-year old woman, a priest, and a pregnant 19 year old woman were attacked by Seattle police. The pregnant woman was punched in the stomach. She is purported to have suffered a miscarriage as a result of this brutal attack. We are the Citizens of the United States of America. We ARE the People. We need you, our President, to listen to us and stop police violence against us in our own country. The State department has come forward to reject the violence in Egypt from the military on its citizens. Why are we not afforded the same democracy?


Soo......every other group has addicts, tweakers, homeless people, and people who are not "safe in occupied spaces"?

Let's be real here.  I've sat in on a few of these meetings in Civic Center park.  Half the "voting" participants are homeless people who are happy to have entertainment.  If you set up a tent in a park you legally can't camp in - don't expect some form of protection.  Especially when the movement doesn't think its okay to entitle any one individual over another with "police powers".  The "facilitators" who are running and directing these conversations are guiding and interpreting the will of the participants however they wish - and everyone feels warm and cushy because they are part of a big discussion in which no one has any more say than anyone else.  Except for the 15 people who disagreed with what just went on, but their body language was read as the affirmative by the "facilitator" who supposedly has no power to control the group. 

I agree with a lot of what (some members of) the Occupy movement have demanded.  End the Fed.  Stop government funding of corporations.  Demanding a representative government that is more reflective of the will of its people.  These are things many portions of the libertarian and tea-party groups have wanted as well.  But somehow these other groups also believe in personal responsibility, the right to personal property (and civil property, such as a park) and rule of law.  Perhaps the group of people who thinks it will be okay to give government the right to take property away from the wealthy and re-apportion it should re-think just how powerful they want that government to be when they are getting pepper-sprayed in the face.  If anything - we want the authority figures to have less power over us.  And maybe they should re-think joining an organization that centers around "give me what I want - I deserve it - and if I don't have it, I should be given it by force" - because in my opinion that is where the mental precept of violence, harassment, and assault is started.  When your organization is centered around the concept of financially assaulting those that are successful, don't be surprised when the movement attracts individuals whose personal morality also says they can physically assault those that they are attracted to.

On a side note - the Tea Party has a vague centered precept of limited government.  It also attracts bigots, religious nut-bags, and right-wing social issues because they want to do whatever they want without government intervention.  This unfortunately attracts those that, not according to the "precepts" of the movement of limited government, want to impose those viewpoints on other people's lives.  This is much like the Occupy movement which wants less governmental and corporate influence in politics and the distribution of wealth, but hypocritically wants to expand the power of these corrupt institutions and say these corporate-lackey politicians should have the ability to re-distribute wealth however they see fit. 

What all these movements really need is to not be hypocritical, and agree that expanded influence of any power is bad - whether it be government, corporations, totalitarian states, or religious beliefs being pressed upon us.  If we don't agree on that simple point - one of those powers will eventually be in control, and the social and economic injustices we are spending our time debating about now will be moot.

Boulder Wanker
Boulder Wanker

So homeless people have no rights or opinions or "votes" in this circumstance.  You've missed a great deal my friend right off the bat.  Although, it is obvious you consider yourself highly thoughtful in your knee jerk opinions of both grassroots movements that have brought difficult issues to the forefront recently.  One thing about the homeless, it is much more difficult to threaten them with loss of job or possessions.  They don't have much to lose.  Look in the mirror, consider, repeat.


You are correct - of course homeless people have a vote and have rights.  I never inferred that they didn't.  My "vote" was in reference to the "votes" occurring within the movement - I perhaps should have instead said "inference of support for one idea or another that could be ignored or acknowledged by the benevolent facilitator".  I also never inferred they should be threatened with monetary loss.  My point was

1. That a large portion of the people involved were not politically motivated to join, but attended by happenstance - a convenience that a rally is happening in their local park to provide them with entertainment, company, and food.  Now what brought them there is irrelevant - they still should have a voice. 

But that brings me to point 2.  Marginalized populations such as homeless individuals have an obvious propensity to gain by laying claim to others property (i.e. wealth).  Their primary objective is fairness in distribution of those resources - the protection of rights to own property and wealth are not a priority for many of them, as they have none.  I am not saying they are incorrect for this - there are many things that need to change.  If someone is willing to work, and has natural talent - there should be no limitations on their success.  Unfortunately there are forces looking to concentrate power which tend to impede that success. 

My primary point was if you look at the motivations (i.e. immediacy of goods for the homeless) the motives of the so called 99% may not be the best long term goals in terms of protecting all citizens rights from an overbearing state (whether that be a corporation, government, or religion).

As Albert Einstein said - An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.  We can have empty stomachs grumble about needing bread, and give our caretakers the power to issue bread, eventually allowing all stomachs to only have bread.  Except the caretakers.  They get bread and butter.

Look in the mirror.  Realize you're not special, and neither is this country.  Read a history book, and see that all capitalist countries have floundered in fascism (where I would consider us heading or already in), which results in a populist revolt handing over the power to trample property rights to a government.  A government ran by man - inherently  and historically abusive of power unless check.  And that government eventually becomes totalitarian, violating civil rights. Consider.  Repeat.

Consider & Repeat is what this country is headed for.  We'll consider, and then repeat the mistakes of the rest of the world.  Lets come to a solution in which we have a government that still respects the rights of individuals, and is still bound by a higher check (a judiciary that actually enforces the constitution, and is free from the political influences currently there).  If we believe income re-distribution is necessary - lets not arbitrarily give the government the ability to do it and ignore the rule of law - lets put it in our Constitution.

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