Posted by: MC | December 3, 2011

Marsha and Nancy — How We Occupy Change

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the idea of having guest bloggers write to the original three questions of EX:Change and the 100 Voices. (EX:C blog, “These Questions Belong to You Now,” 10-22-2011)

  • When you say the word change what do you mean?
  • Alongside change, what is important to have remain the same?
  • What would be concrete signs that positive change was occurring?

Then I got email from Marsha Cuyjet – voice #48.  

 Dear Mary, loving the book and thank you for my copy.  It’s awesome to read what we (all of the 100 and the country) thought and felt 2 years ago….and so begins Book 2.

 I wrote back, happy to hear from her.  Said I’m planning to be throughJackson,MSagain in February and hoping to see her.  This was her reply.

 So hello again…to continue my thought about Book 2, are you thinking about doing a follow up along the lines of how the 100 have changed our thoughts about change? Cause personally, I don’t even begin to know more than this: I want our political system to change; I’m appalled by the behavior of our elected officials; and Speaker Boehner seems to be a racist….is everybody afraid to call him out? 

I wrote again, asked Marsha if she would be open to being part of this blog – asked her if she would say more about change and the other two questions.  This came back.

Hey Mary, how are you today?  Of course I don’t mind if you use my comments on your blog,  probably the only reason I don’t tweet or blog is cause I don’t have a home computer so I go the libraries…as to the other two questions:  almost nothing should stay the same except for principles, standards and values in our society as far as I can tell; and some signs of good positive change I would like to see happen in my lifetime are when I see young people of all races begin to stop emulating what the media tells them they “should be” and return to a healthy respect for their individualism.

Back to my “call him out” comment:  Speaker Boehner may not be a racist but when one finds fault with the same thing one previously said themselves, I can think of no other reason than the fact that the words are coming out of a different “mouth” or maybe it’s just a horse of a different color…

What are your thoughts about Occupy?  I’m unemployed and cable is no longer a necessity (smile).  Our local news channels aren’t giving me enough…I MISS MY MSNBC!!

As if they were in some sort of cosmic dialogue, my little sister Nancy, resident of Gainesville, FLA and recent Occupy supporter was the next to respond to the three questions here at the close of 2011.

When I think of change I think if I have to express myself according to what the existing rules are, it won’t happen.

Actually, that’s a lie.

When I think of change, really think about it then the rules have no meaning.

I was taught anarchy was dangerous and was forced to read Lord of the Flies. (Well, not really forced like tortured but forced like “if ya wanna make a good grade in this class”) Lord of the Flies is one youchy-monga view of anarchy (and there were no girls in the story, go figure.)

I reject that teaching of anarchy, now.

Once a week, Nancyis cooking to feed the Occupy Gainseville folk.  Other times of the week she is down in the square for General Assemblies where she watches and listens and bridges “bohemian intellectuals and the down-and-out black men.”

She describes one instance of approaching one of the white bohemians like this:   “you know, bro, at some point we gotta get beyond tolerating each other and start gettin’ to know each other, cause if we don’t it’s just the same ol’ shit and it’s not gonna work.  If we can’t come together in a real sense in this plaza we’re sure as hell not gonna be able to make a diff in the broader community.  See that guy over there that you’ve spent the last 40 nights with?  Do you know his name?  It’s JaVonne (or Geoff) and he’s really good at organizing folks to keep the space clean which is crucial (or really good at explaining things in ways folks can understand.)  Maybe y’all oughta yak, yeah?”

Back on the subject of the three questions,Nancycontinues this way.

I want nothin’ to stay the same, ’cause it won’t anyway and if I want it to I’m wasting my energy on wanting the impossible.

Tangible signs of change?  Solar panels manufactured by local businesses.  Everyone fed without having to sacrifice their dignity.  People who talk funny being listened to.  Waves and smiles.  Witnessing civil conversations between and among peops who disagree.

So, I don’t know about Speaker Boehner, but it is entirely legitimate to question the inconsistencies in his words and actions.  We occupy the country for which he is one of the leaders.  Racism continues to damage our brothers and sisters in real and daily ways.  At the same time, in our occupation we are more and more frequently in civil and civic conversation across both our similarities and differences.  As part of that conversation, I thank Marsha Cuyjet and my sister Nancy Jones for their thoughts that weave into this week’s reflection on change.

None of us can know where this change is taking us exactly, but it seems to have a lot to do with Love.  Love with a big L.  Love a good deal grown up from the days of Haight Ashbury and Woodstock, but no less indebted to the activism of those times. Love that underlies the constants Marsha describes as our “principles, standards and values.”  This is Love like this man speaks as he reveals how the 99% must finally be about all 100%.


  1. Dr. Mary, this is my fav post so far! You have beautifully picked up on the Love theme of occupy. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: