Occupy protestors Blaire Edwards, left, and Diego Atuesto, both of Orlando, protest outside the Florida House of Representatives Tuesday Jan. 10, 2012, during the first day of the Florida Legislative Session in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Sunshine State seems unlikely territory for the movement, but Occupy has taken root in cities and towns across Florida. Swaths of the state are deeply conservative—ostensibly more hospitable to the Tea Party than Occupy Wall Street—and the state is known for beaches and Disney World, not political action. But Occupy has resonated here, drawing hundreds of people to demonstrations even in the smallest towns. And this month, Florida [was] home to the first-ever state Occupy convention—the “People’s Convention.”
Demonstrators from “Occupy” movements across Florida came together for the first time in Orlando this weekend for a state convention.
Saturday, they kicked off events with a human-rights march from Senator Beth Johnson Park where Occupy Orlando has demonstrated for two months. Dozens trailed behind a drummer and two men who waved large American flags as they made their way down Orange Avenue to the steps of City Hall, where about 200 others were waiting.
More than half the crowd was from out of town, local delegates said. They came from as far down as Fort Lauderdale and Miami to Pensacola and Tallahassee to collectively show their opposition to corporate greed and government corruption, discuss the future of the movement and set goals…
On November 5, 2011, Occupy Orlando reached consensus at its General Assembly to begin the process of hosting a Founders-style People’s Convention in Orlando with delegates from the local Occupations of Florida.
At present, our political and economic systems favor the interests of corporations and lobbyists over those of the common citizen. Corruption is endemic; politicians have failed us. We the People are gathering together as Occupy Florida to decide what changes we wish to see at the state level.
The People’s Convention of Florida is unaffiliated with any political or special interest groups. A majority of local Florida Occupations have agreed by consensus to support the Convention. To ensure that this is an inclusive conversation, delegates will be anyone from each local Occupation who wants to join us as well as members of the general public who wish to attend.
We will convene the weekend of December 9-11, 2011 to develop a list of desired changes that will resonate with any ethical person. On January 10, 2012, the first day of the Florida legislative session, we will march on Tallahassee to deliver The People’s Plan directly to the State Capitol.