When Occupy protesters arrived in Washington after a wearying 240-mile march from Zuccotti Park in New York just over a week ago, they said it was only the beginning of the “Mobile Occupation.” If police wanted to shut down their occupations, they said, they would take their occupations on the road.
Now, those same protesters, along with members of Occupy DC, say they will march to Atlanta, starting at the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National mall and finishing at the civil rights leader’s gravesite in Atlanta. The march is to begin Thursday, on the anniversary of Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus in 1955.
“This is our Rosa Parks moment for the 21st century,” marcher Bo Han told me of the march, when I accompanied the protesters as they walked from New York. “This is the fire in our belly that we’ve all been scared to talk about.”
The trek to Atlanta is 700 miles, and will take the marchers 45 days, factoring in 10 planned days of rest. Following the last march’s laundry list of injuries — shin splints, blown knees, removed toenails, to name a few — they are determined to do this one more safely. They will also be heading toward a warmer climate instead of through 30-degree temperatures and rain.
“We built up momentum from our last march, and we want to keep it going,” said marcher Cologino Rivera, who had once told me he longed to “occupy the beach” of Miami. “And so many of our occupations are falling... We want to show people that... the occupation is alive.”