Occupy the Upper Valley was formed in early December 2011 when a group of over a hundred enthusiastic people gathered for the first potluck and General Assembly (GA) at the Norwich public library. Several of us who had been participating in Occupy Dartmouth demonstrations and helping out at the tent had begun to talk with the students about the possibility of expanding the movement to the wider community. They agreed to help facilitate our first GA and taught us the new format and hand signals developed by Occupy Wall Street to run a democratic meeting where everyone is heard.
Many diverse local groups were represented at that first meeting. At the end we broke out into working groups, which continued to meet and bring reports back to our bi-weekly General Assembly. We have established an active discussion list whereby members carry on interesting conversations about issues that concern them, and educate each other by passing on important articles on the web. Ten members of our local group attended an Occupy conference at Goddard College this spring and made many connections, including with the wider Occupy Vermont group, which will be meeting in our area this summer. We are hoping to host a New England occupy gathering at some time in the future.
Our local occupy community
The most important thing about Occupy the Upper Valley is that it’s a community.
We range in age from 17 to 77 and live all over our beautiful valley in both New Hampshire and Vermont; we are church-goers and meditators; we are professors, students, workers, singers, therapists, union organizers, farmers, and artists. We are long time activists and those just beginning to enter the fray. Our personalities are all over the spectrum and we keep our expert communications team busy, but we also laugh a lot and truly enjoy and learn from our differences.
The one thing that binds us together is that we all believe something deep has gone wrong with this country we love so much, and we’re all willing to take a chance that together we can begin to fix it. We come to meetings, discuss things until they become clearer, try to think out of the box—and we work hard. If you feel strongly about wanting to see a just, peaceful and sustainable world, we invite you to join us. It’s a commitment—to each other, to our local community, and to the world.
General Assembly Meetings: we meet every other Sunday. Please check the Calendar for all meetings.