New Westminster woman helping to organize Occupy Vancouver
Police arrested hundreds in New York City last weekend as protesters continued to take part in Occupy Wall Street—an ongoing demonstration that began Sept. 17 in an effort to rally against the global financial system.
The movement is spreading across North America and a New Westminster woman is helping to organize a similar campaign scheduled to hit the Vancouver Art Gallery on Oct. 15.
Occupy Vancouver organizer Min Reyes has been involved with the local arm of the movement since it launched last week. She said there are misconceptions about the group's intentions.
"It is not a protest, it's a gathering of Canadians," Reyes said. "Our main aim would be to reclaim the public sphere and rightfully engage in our political participation."
She said one of the goals of Occupy Vancouver is to strengthen and build a community that has grown apart due to partisan ideology.
Although the protesters at Occupy Wall Street rallied against the global financial system, Reyes said it's up to participants at Occupy Vancouver to come together to see what unifies them.
"So we want to bring people out to get people to share their stories and—through this open process of communication—to be able to identify the issues that seem common to all of us," she said.
"We have lawyers coming, we have (post-secondary) students, we have high school students joining us, we have people from all walks of life who just want to come and share their life experiences."
Reyes said she and some of her Occupy Vancouver colleagues will be sharing personal stories about the financial hardships they endured while attending post-secondary. Occupy Vancouver has also invited new immigrants, aboriginal groups and Palestinian supporters to come out to the Vancouver Art Gallery and talk about their own experiences.
"It wouldn't matter if there are 60 or 600 (participants), but we are staying there indefinitely. I can only see us getting bigger," she said.
Reyes said Occupy Vancouver started off with just six people last week and numbers have since skyrocketed. She said organizers have been inundated with emails, message board posts, tweets and Facebook comments from over a thousand different people.
Reyes said people are welcome to come to the Woodward's Building this Saturday at 10 a.m. to brainstorm ideas for the Oct. 15 gathering.
"We invite everybody to be with us. It doesn't matter what you're political stripe is, it doesn't matter what your job is."