Why Occupy Eugene? Conversation Draws Over 300 Community Members

Why Occupy Eugene? Conversation Draws Over 300 Community Members

“There are many reasons I volunteer with Occupy Eugene … I am deeply concerned with humans who are less able to advocate for themselves,” said Occupy Eugene member and civil rights attorney Lauren Regan at the Why Occupy Eugene? panel discussion at Cozmic Pizza on November 28. “The brunt of the financial crisis has been shouldered by the average citizen.”

An estimated 300 members of the community came out to the City Club of Eugene and the Downtown Neighborhood Association panel discussion and forum on Occupy Eugene yesterday evening. The panel, moderated by First Christian Church pastor Dan Bryant, consisted of three Occupy Eugene panelists (Jamil Jonna, Lauren Regan and Silver Mogart) and three respondents (Jean Tate, Rick Karr and Ed Whitelaw), as well as questions from the audience. The event brought about interesting and pertinent discussion on topics and issues around the Occupy movement and our very own Occupation in Eugene. Over $470 was received in donations to the Occupy Eugene fund.

“When these folks are through with their presentations we hope you’ll get into a conversation with other folks,” said Downtown Neighborhood Association chair David Mandelblatt, in his introduction. “That way we’ve got the broadest possible exchange of ideas and the most learning possible.”

“The occupation itself is crucial to pushing the collective discussion of issues like the economic crisis further,” said Occupy Eugene member and University of Oregon PhD sociology student Jamil Jonna. “I know this precisely because I am one of many occupiers that isn’t satisfied merely with chanting slogans. We are quite aware of the fact that on a wide range of political issues we barely scratch the surface in our typical discussions—especially as they are presented in the mass media.”

Silver Mogart, a community organizer at Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and a member of Occupy Eugene’s Facilitation Committee, commented: “I do believe in democracy and I do believe in the democratic process but when I look out into this group, there are a number of us who are highly disappointed with the direction that our country’s going and highly disappointed with the feeling that democracy has not been working for us. The process that we have looks like it might be broken.”

Bill McConochie, a member of the audience, praised the Occupy Movement: “I see them as a reflection of the 90 percent of us who would prefer government that serves us not as members of special interest groups but as members of the community overall … I think you’re forming a terrific community. And the one thing that I’m very impressed with tonight is how much wisdom there is in this panel and in the room that can contribute to creating a society and a government that serves us as members of the community overall.”

The forum was video recorded and can be found at: www.ustream.tv/recorded/18812189. In addition, the forum will be broadcast on KLCC 89.7 FM on Wednesday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m.

This press release has been approved by the general assembly of Occupy Eugene.