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Occupy Ortonville meeting



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March 28, 2012 - Ortonville- Pam Belding is bringing the Occupy movement to the village.

Residents aren't likely to see a community of tents or protestors marching in the streets downtown, but the first Occupy Ortonville meeting is planned for 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday, April 15 at the Old Town Hall at the corner of Mill and Church streets.

Belding, a Brandon Township resident, would like to get at least 80 people (hall capacity) at what she hopes will be the first of several Occupy meetings in the village.

"We want people who are interested in strengthening our community and our economy," said Belding. "We want something local, so you don't have to drive to Flint or Detroit, so we can have a local connection to a nationwide problem."

Frustration with politicians, banks, corporations and the growing disparity in incomes drove Belding to join others with similar concerns at Occupy Detroit in October.

According to occupywallstreet.org, "Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan's Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. OWS is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1 percent of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future."

"It's about working together to use influence we have as American citizens to make changes we know are necessary to stabilize and strengthen our country," said Belding. "To stand up to the banks and say, 'No, I don't want you changing rules at the last minute, bumping up fees, foreclosing on houses, throwing people in the street, getting rich, not helping anybody.' It's a grassroots movement to help the economy."

Belding is looking for volunteers prior to the first meeting to begin coordinating local efforts. The first meeting will be to talk about what the Occupy movement is, and what it is not.

For example, she said Occupy is not about party or politics, it's not about burning things down, it's not about disrespect. It is about clarity, community, positive influence, and making a difference.

"In order to be responsible parents and citizens, we need to work together for the common good," she said. "We will prepare activities that will challenge corporate power-- putting money into credit unions, we will inform people of their rights as citizens and give congress people's phone numbers to call and tell them we oppose subsidizing corporations. I am excited and looking forward to bringing people together in a way that will empower them and restoring democracy and our economy. It's not that we don't have money in this country, its just very concentrated right now."

For more information, e-mail pambelding@gmail.com.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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