While the people who initially camped out in Civic Plaza (later re-named Freedom Plaza by the occupiers) were mostly young, and/or homeless, there was a contingent of more mature women who heartily supported the effort, but were not eager to camp in the plaza.
Some of us had previous experience as activists and organizers. For some, this was their first time getting involved as an activist. We were delighted to see the emergence of youthful energy and courage in the occupiers and tried to offer guidance without snatching up the reins. As the days turned to weeks and the SDPD started oppressing the occupiers, even beating up people in tents, we looked for ways to lend support to a movement we hoped would be the start of the change we knew was needed.
On October 15, 2017 we joined the 99% Global Day of Action in Civic Plaza and we turned out in enthusiastic numbers to march in the Halloween Occupy Monster March and the Nov. 5th Kick Ass for the Middle Class Rally. Then, on a rainy November 12th, we organized our own, Middle Class Women Support Occupy March.
Many of us were there when Occupy San Diego began with a march from Children's Park to Civic Plaza
Many of us brought food, blankets and other necessities to the occupiers, who were facing daily assaults and arrests by the police. We began to coalesce as a group, coordinating our activities, including scheduling food prep and driving occupiers to our homes to shower and change into clean clothes.
As the City stepped up their attacks on the occupiers, we attended City Council meetings and met with Congressional Representatives to plead their cause.
On December 1st, The Women’s Museum of California hosted a meeting where we decided to organize as an ad hoc group to support the Occupy Movement both in the Civic Plaza and in a long-term campaign to address the many issues threatening the 99%, starting with a Civil Disobedience training at the Peace Center the following day. On December 6th, Occupy was on the City Council agenda and we were there en masse.
Occupy Women bringing lunch for the Occupiers
Women Occupy organizing meeting held at Women’s History Museum.
Inspired by the Suffragette movement, we created sashes with Women Occupy San Diego stenciled on them that we wore at Horton Plaza, caroling verses that put occupier words to popular holiday tunes. Someone called us the Occupellas, and the name stuck!
WOSD sang at Gaslamp and Horton Plaza, first performance with sashes
Occupellas sing at Nordstrom Rack, Westfield Plaza, Mission Valley
Occupellas caroling at Mission Valley Mall
Occupellas caroling at Civic Center Plaza
On January 1, 2012, we gathered at the home of one of our members to discuss ways we could continue to be part of the changes we saw that were needed on both a local and national level. We formed committees and agreed to remain an informal group, organized under the cooperative and consensus principles of Occupy.
Occupellas sing to theater goers at Civic Center Plaza.
Press Conference at Civic Center Plaza
Occupellas perform at Civic Center Plaza
Occupella’s sing at Occupy the Courts
WOSD at Occupy Congress, Washington DC
Free Speech event commemorating beating of IWW
Occupellas sing at Soda Bar - Sounds of Occupation
Occupellas sing at Move to Amend Rally
WOSD fundraiser at Big Kitchen
WOSD booth and Occupellas Performance at Earthfair
Occupella’s sing at Connect the Dots Rally with 350.org at Mission Beach
Months after the Occupiers has left Civic Plaza, we took over the plaza for an Occupy our Arts event that even garnered a proclamation from the City Council making June 9, 2012, Occupy Our Arts Day!
Occupy Our Arts at Civic Center Plaza
Proclamation from City Council
Over the following year, even after the last Occupier had been chased from the Civic Plaza, Women Occupy San Diego grew and became engaged in many issues. The Occupella’s got so good that they were invited to perform as various venues, using entertainment and humor to deliver the poignant message of Occupy to the general population.
Some of our original committees achieved important goals, including supporting the successful shut-down of the unsafe San Onofre Nuclear Plant (SONGS).