Ides of March walk 2013

Walkupy is in the News! #solidarity

‘Walkupy’ movement hits city

Protesters bound for Chicago

Marching for changePete Rodman/Daily News

Marching for change

Darrin Annussek (from left) of Philadelphia, Pa., Bo Han of New York, Ny., Ezekiel Kingdonn of Atlanta, Ga., and Peter Grotticelli of Long Island, Ny., share a pizza on Monday Mar. 5, 2012 while taking a break from their march to Chicago at the intersection of Smallhouse Road and Scottsville Road in Bowling Green, Ky. (Photo by Pete Rodman/Daily News)

Posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 12:38 pm

By JUSTIN STORY The Daily News jstory@bgdailynews.com/783-3256 |4 comments

Saying they felt compelled to take action and encourage activism in others, five men who are part of the nationwide Occupy movement passed through Bowling Green on Monday, marching in what they are calling a mobile occupation.

The group, bundled in winter clothing and carrying heavy backpacks, some with American flags poking out of them, are part of what is known as the “Walkupy” movement.

Bo Han, who gave up a job at a restaurant in Atlanta last year to join the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, said the group’s numbers have fluctuated to as many as 55 marchers since the Walkupy movement left from New York in November after police began arresting protesters demonstrating against what they consider excessive corporate influence in government and income inequality between the wealthiest 1 percent in the United States and the rest of the population.

Han is part of a group known as Walkupy Mayday, having departed from New York in November and traveled on foot through the Southeast to Atlanta before heading back north toward their ultimate destination of Chicago.

The group members estimate they have walked nearly 1,000 miles. They have stopped in other cities along the way that have Occupy movements to talk about the issues that are important to them and teach people about the significance of marching as a form of protest.

“We have the advantage of being mobile,” Han said about Walkupy. “If you have a question, we’re coming through your city. As much as we like to get on our soapbox, we also like to listen with our ears open.”

The group has the goal of arriving in Chicago by May 1 and being part of an Occupy movement that will demonstrate at the NATO summit to be held there May 19-20. Occupy protesters had also planned to demonstrate in conjunction with the G-8 economic summit of the eight wealthiest nations, but the White House announced Monday afternoon that the G-8 would be moved to Camp David, Md.

Along the way, Han was joined in Philadelphia by Darrin Annussek and a man who identified himself Monday as “Turtle.” Native New Yorker Peter Grotticelli flew from an Occupy movement in Eugene, Ore., to join the group in North Carolina, and Ezekiel Kingdonn has been with the group since it passed through Nashville.

They try to walk 15 miles a day, and rely mainly on the generosity of others when it’s time for them to rest.

Turtle, who said he was arrested during a demonstration in North Carolina, said the group has slept in many churches and private homes, and has set up tents in the woods on some nights when those options weren’t available. They spent the previous night in a hotel, which Turtle said was a rare occurrence.

While pausing on Broadway Avenue near Smallhouse Road, someone brought the group a pizza, which they gratefully accepted.

Through its own website (walkupy.org) and its pages on social media sites Twitter and Facebook, Walkupy is able to solicit donations from supporters and find people willing to drive their packs ahead to the next stop on their march.

Current Walkup marches also include one stretching from New York to California and another spanning between Mobile and Montgomery, Ala.

“Walkupy aims to unite everyone in an effort to envision and create a new kind of society in which the needs of all human beings are put first,” the Walkupy website’s mission statement reads in part. “These methods of demonstration are the next logical step that should be taken beyond stationary occupations.”

Annussek said he has been following politics since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and saw the Occupy movement as a way for him to become active in calling attention to income inequality and its impact on government.

“A lot of times that design (of democracy) can be corrupted by corporate influence,” Annussek said. “I’d like to empower people just to speak up a little more.”

Turtle said the reception from people they visit and motorists who drive past has been mostly supportive.

During their travels, the group has been listening to the stories of other people who share their concerns, and Han said the Walkupy movement will take those stories and the “spirit of the 99 percent” to Chicago in the hopes of spreading a powerful message.

“This is history in the making,” Han said. “You read the history books and wonder where our moment was … there hasn’t been anything like this in my lifetime.”


March 9, 2012 - Posted by | Occupy Walk News, Walking Blog

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