Alameda: Occupied

Courtesy photo

Zig Zagman protests outside of Bank of America on Park Street Monday.

When the Occupy Wall Street movement began last month, its organizers probably never assumed that small-town residents across America would march in front of their city halls in support of the movement. Last week, nearly 80 people rallied in front of Alameda city hall in support of the Wall Street Protests.

The Alameda rally almost didn't happen. Alameda resident Katherine Culberg, who organized the city hall protest, had up until recently never assumed that Alameda (which Culberg had preconceived as a small, conservative town) would be the type of place that would welcome such a protest.

"But then I had this realization one night, why not Alameda?" Culberg said. "I mean why not Alameda? I know there are so many concerned citizens in Alameda; I mean there really are."

Culberg said she has visited both the San Francisco and Oakland Occupy camps, and though she had connections with both groups, she really felt that the groups' messages would be more powerful to her closer to home. Besides, " the power of this movement will in part come from exposing and representing all the different types of communities and populations who have trouble with the system as it is," Culberg said.

As for why the protests were held in front of city hall last week, Culberg says that the rally location was not a statement about the current city government. Culberg chose the location purely because she wanted to have a safe area for residents to gather with their families. The places in front of Alameda's banks did not feel safe for families, Culberg said.

As for what Culberg hopes the Occupy Wall Street protests will achieve: "I guess my dream would be that ultimately we don't have in this country such a huge disparity of wealth and opportunity, which comes from, I think, at least an unethical, if not illegal relationship between the government and financial institutions in our country."

Already Culberg's movement is spreading in Alameda. On Monday, Alameda resident Ralph Zig Tyko, aka Zig Zagman, held another protest in front of the Bank of America building on Park Street.

In addition to Zagman's efforts, there is a growing presence on the Occupy Alameda Facebook page.


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