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Occupy Tampa marks one-year anniversary

5:00 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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Occupy Tampa protester John Thomas works on a sign.



Tampa, Florida - Some cardboard, a marker, and just one guy making signs on Monday afternoon seems to be a sign that enthusiasm for Occupy Tampa has gone Occu-dry. But John Thomas insists the movement, if changed a bit, is still alive and well.

"We have a core group of very dedicated people; people extremely dedicated. The numbers, even if they're not here, they're still there," said Thomas, who pointed out the number of people seeking out the group's Facebook page.

Eventually, perhaps a dozen people turned out at Gaslight Park to mark the one-year anniversary of Occupy Tampa. But a year ago, hundreds took part in Occupy Tampa marches and their concerns were diverse. Some protested the war, others economic inequality and still others government corruption.

That big tent drew in people like a man from Plant City who identified himself Monday simply as "Crash".

"There's a big mess out there; there's a lot of different messages-you're right. It's more than financial, it's the way some people are treated," he said.

Occupy Tampa has long given up occupying the sidewalks along Curtis Hixon Park. The campouts there did bring visibility, but also arrests.

So over the past year, what did Occupy Tampa accomplish? Supporters point to concrete actions like the times the group fed the homeless and also to things harder to measure, like contributing to a national conversation.

"It's changed the national dialogue," says Thomas. "People are talking about things they didn't before and it's because of the Occupy movement.

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