It all started with Occupy Norfolk. Recently it has come to my attention that Occupy Virginia Beach is being organized as well. Appropriately they plan to occupy the Town Center at the fountain.
Earlier today I had the opportunity to interview Rafael Gil an organizer for Occupy Virginia Beach.
Blue Scholar Blog: Why did you start Occupy Virginia Beach?
Rafael Gil: Since Occupy Norfolk has started there are a lot of people that can’t make it to Norfolk. The more cities involved the more people that can participate. We are all in this together. We are in solidarity with Occupy Wall St and other Occupy movements around the world. This is a leaderless movement but we do have organizers within each Occupy movement.
Blue Scholar Blog: Do you plan on visiting Occupy Norfolk?
Rafael Gil: Yes, me personally I try to go out there at least once a week.
Blue Scholar Blog: The Occupation Movement has been going on for over a month and shows no signs of stopping? Do you anticipate continued growth for Occupy Virginia Beach?
Rafael Gil: Yes we anticipate more growth. The first occupation in Hampton Roads was Occupy Norfolk. We are trying to plan events that do not conflict with Occupy Norfolk. We are trying to have our voices heard and are handing out fliers. We are being misrepresented in the media. They think all we want to do is hang out and that we don’t have jobs. We are here to have a peaceful protest under our first amendment rights.
Blue Scholar Blog: What would you say the occupation movement is all about?
Rafael Gil: It’s about having our voices heard. This includes people from all walks of life. We want corporations out of politics. The supreme court has ruled that corporations are people. This is not right. It’s we the people not we the corporations.
Blue Scholar Blog: Do you feel that there is too much money involved in the electoral process?
Rafael Gil: Yes, we the citizens have a right to vote. Since corporations are involved they can spend so much money that the politicians are looking out for the corporations interests and not for the citizens interests anymore.
Blue Scholar Blog: How are relations with the city and the police?
Rafael Gil: So far the city is working with us. We are trying to get permits for the occupation and for amplified sound. We had a meeting with officials last week to ensure the safety of the occupiers. The city is happy that Occupy Virginia Beach is doing it by the book.
Blue Scholar Blog: How has the community responded to occupy Virginia Beach?
Rafael Gil: There are a lot of people who are not with us because they do not know what we are about. We are all in this together, those people who are working and those who are unemployed, the police and the college student. We are the 99%.
Blue Scholar Blog: If someone wants to help Occupy Virginia Beach what can they do?
Blue Scholar Blog: When is the next big demonstration?
Rafael Gil: We are planning to have events twice a week. This Thursday, November 3rd we are going to be waving signs from 5 – 6 pm at the Virginia Beach Boulevard and Independence Boulevard intersection. At 6pm we will have a general assembly. On Sunday, November 6th we will have our first march after the general assembly at noon.
Blue Scholar Blog: Do you have anything else to add?
Rafael Gil: The US Treasury gave millions to the banks. The US is helping banks meanwhile they are laying people off. Bank of America plans to lay off 30,000 people. The CEOs are getting bonuses and the banks are foreclosing on people’s homes. A lot of people go to school and play by the book. If you would fast forward their lives 20 or 30 years down the road, many are facing massive debt and homelessness today.
In solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Norfolk, and Occupy Virginia Beach the Blue Scholar Blog is committed to taking a stand against Wall Street and government corruption.
There is a growing feeling in the streets that we can change things. If we all hang in there and do our part we can defeat those who would exploit us.
I urge anyone in the area to visit Occupy Virginia Beach and Occupy Norfolk. If you want to help out now is your chance.