Sleep-deprived but otherwise resolute, the Occupy Baltimore contingent of the worldwide protest movement entered its third week at McKeldin Fountain Plaza, just a stone’s throw from the high-rise bank and insurance offices whose “corporate greed” is a major target of their ire.
“I’m here for however long it takes,” said Kevin Peck, 31, who provides security for the loosely knit organization that operates like an old-fashioned hippie collective, supplying whomever stops by with everything from organic food to protest signs. Every night there’s a general assembly meeting where anyone is free to talk, and the group more or less decides its activities collectively.
Peck has been at the campground for over a week. In addition to acting as an informal guard and mediator, he opens his north Baltimore apartment to fellow campers to shower, shave and wash their clothes.
The number of people spending the night at the tent village is hard to determine, but appears to range from about 35 to 50.
Many activists who have jobs or other commitments take turns camping out under the twinkling lights of the Inner Harbor’s business skyline.
Anne Smart said 13 members of her family – including her sister, her niece and a brother-in-law – have been rotating at her tent. She said she’s been at the protest site as much as possible, but leaves to take care of her children and attend classes at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).
“I have two kids that need a world to enjoy and to thrive,” said the 26-year-old from Parkville. “But at the rate we’re going, it’s not going to happen.”
Here’s a clip about Occupy Baltimore from photographer, videographer and Brew contributor Sean M. Bowie:
Her friend, Jason O’Neal, interjected to say, “Opportunities that I had as a kid are evaporating. Like a good education. Everyone once had a chance to go to college. That’s my number one thing – improving education for everyone.”
Promoter of Everything Positive
Self-described “happy camper” Heather Battaglia outlined a more sweeping agenda for America. “I don’t believe in money. And I definitely do not believe in banks and corporations making more and more money at the expense of everyone else.”
The 28-year-old said she’s been camped at McKeldin Fountain since day two. She described herself as “a promoter of everything positive” and said she travels around the country to meet people.
“I was thinking of getting on a bus to San Francisco to join the Occupy protest there, but then I decided to stay because we need more people here.”
“I don’t understand why everyone isn’t here,” she added yesterday afternoon, as a group of businessmen passed near her tent toward the Inner Harbor pavilions.
More Occupy Baltimore pictures taken yesterday by photographer Kevin Grishkot: