By Jerry Waxman
The group Move to Amend.org had been planning this action for a long time. Occupy Orlando and other occupations throughout the nation joined with them in planning the event. Occupy the Courts went into effect on Friday, January 20th and in some cases lasted through Saturday. The objective was to occupy the Federal Courts to object to the Citizens United Ruling as well as corporate dominance of our financial system. There were separate actions in many cities throughout 49 states.
Occupy Orlando took their stand at the Federal Courthouse at 401 E. Central Blvd in Orlando. The crowd started to assemble slowly but by 10:00 AM a respectable crowd of about 45 had assembled and it was time to start. The security guards on duty were pleasant and as helpful as possible, and they allowed free access to most areas except the steps which they insisted must remain clear for safety reasons. No one dared to test these rules, instead saving their energy for the soap box. Over twenty people made speeches as to why they are part of the movement or why they support the occupation.
The Rev. Dr. Gregory Van Wilson of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brevard was the first speaker whose theme was Anti-authoritarianism. Many other speakers contributed their stories and views, some even twice. Occupy Orlando Media Team member, Rebecca Cruz served as MC and was followed by Waltrout Graccione, Who was born in Germany. Occupy Orlando member Blair Edwards was followed by Occupy Orlando member William Ezell. Criminal Defense Attorney Hastings Jones spoke eloquently about how the one percent controls the justice system. Retired college professor Harold Ramsberger spoke about how our money is manipulated. Occupy Orlando member Kat Duerr spoke about her activism. Roger Levine from Occupy Port St. Lucie was in Orlando along with two other friends. Occupy Orlando member
Sue Casterline spoke about her involvement. Science Dave Dunning gave two lectures. Occupy Orlando member Rudy Roberts spoke about his recent experiences. Georgette Picarsky told why she supports the occupation. Lore Rosenthal, an activist fromGreenbelt, MD. spoke about her experiences. Tim Adams, Diego, Emily Rogers and Anna Dinenik all members of Occupy Orlando also told their stories. Poet Tim Ramsay read one of his special verses. After a short break for lunch everyone came back and recreated the ceremony for the Funeral for the Bill of Rights that Occupy Orlando held a month earlier at the Orange County Courthouse.