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i’m in yr park occupying yr access

maura @ 9:21 pm

I took the day off work to celebrate May Day this year by heading into the city to do an open access publishing teach-in with Jill and Alycia, my OA peeps from Brooklyn College. Alycia made a sign, Jill made handouts (paper and web), and I made cards with the URL for the web handout. It was rad: although the chilly rain, early hour, and a timeslot up against someone famous made for a small crowd, we had some great conversations about open access with folks who stopped by.

oateachinholding oateachincards

I hung out at the Free U until midafternoon when I had to leave to pick up Gus from school. There was a great vibe in the park, friendly and mellow, and it was fun to wander around and see the groups of people clustered together reading, discussing, and, in some cases, drawing. I ran into a coupla folks I know (though not my labor doula, who’d called me out of the blue the day before when she saw my name on the class list). I listened in on the session about the imagery of protest and Occupy by Occuprint, a group collecting and sharing the posters created by Occupiers, which was really cool.

At the beginning of the day there were only a handful of park rangers at the park, but as the day wore on and got sunnier + more crowded police started showing up. I felt a bit more tense as the day progressed, too — there were intermittent helicopters starting around 1-ish and the occasional paddywagon with sirens on driving by the park, though again, the park itself was pretty non-threatening. I had to leave before the marching started for which I was both glad and sad. Despite preparations like not bringing my nice water bottle, I really didn’t want to get arrested. Also, the older I get the less I’m into hanging out in large crowds of people, even if it’s for something I want to do (like see a band play, e.g.). On the other hand, the photos and videos I saw of the marches later made me wish I’d been able to stay: that good feeling that can accompany solidarity is lovely and was clearly evident.

Even though there are no firm rules, I did try to keep to the no work no housework no shopping no banking spirit of May Day. Definitely that = yes hanging out with your kid, which meant buying him a cookie at a (non-chain!) bakery near his school while we chatted about his day. It also meant yes laundry, because my inner stinky hippie forces me to hang most laundry dry which takes time, and we needed clean clothes. But otherwise I was pretty good at taking the day off, an accomplishment in itself, I think.

Photo on the left by Alycia and on the right by me.

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