Thirty Days of Love, Day 9: Occupy Community
Date: January 24 – Occupy Community
Staff member: Campus Ministry Associate Kayla Parker
Description: This exercise invites reflection upon how you live the issues of the Occupy Movement and how those issues effect your local community.
Questions: What is your local community struggling with?
How has the economic crisis affected your congregation and community?
How have you and/or your congregation been impacted by what you have witnessed these past months in your community, and what have you done in response?
How is your congregation standing on the side of love?
The opening question, “What is your local community struggling with?” has me stuck. This should be a pretty easy question, right? But I’m not sure what my community is. Sure, I’ve been a member of a congregation for over a year, have been living in one place for over a year, and have good friends living close and far. But one geographically central group of people, like a congregation, is not how I define my communities – and so I’ll describe just a couple of them.
The community of friends with whom I graduated high school and college are exploring or carving out our places in the world. We are focusing on balance and personal integrity and value connection. We graduated when the job market crashed and some of us were unemployed for a while others got jobs, and some who didn’t have loans to pay off traveled. The Occupy movement has spoken to us and given us a platform from which to speak. Some of us went to rallies and meetings, and some chose to have personal conversations and live their own lives with increased fiscal responsibility for the interdependent web of life. My friends who weren’t already in credit unions or small banks chose them – and then talked about it a lot to raise consciousness in others.
My Boston-area Unitarian Universalist community has become involved in Occupy Boston, attending events, General Assemblies and protests as individuals and leading vesper services. We raised questions about race and class to the Occupy community, and helped organize anti-racism trainings. My congregation, First Parish in Brookline, baked OccuPIES and brought them to Dewey Square.
In fact, I think part of my initial roadblock with this question is that when I think “community” I think of a larger network of people than any one congregation could and should contain. It is movements like Occupy that remind us how truly interconnected we all are, and that our decisions of how to live our lives create substantial waves. It is movements like Occupy that create a space for us to engage in community with others who are being oppressed and take action.