Donations Pour into Occupy Detroit Protest in Grand Circus Park

A recent poll showed more than one third of the country or 37 percent of people support the Wall Street protests and even more, 58 percent — say they are angry about America’s politics.  Detroit is no exception and that is evident by the large numbers of donations pouring into Grand Circus Park.  Tents are bursting at the seams at the ‘Occupy Detroit’ protest with loads of food, clothing and medical supplies.

Nurses representing the Michigan Nurses Association came down to provide first aid support, but they’re mission of mercy was twofold.  As part of National Nurses United, they passed out their own Main Street Contract Campaign to support the Wall Street Transaction Tax, which they hope will make Wall Street pay for the devastation it has caused on Main Street.   The NNU contract calls for good jobs at living wages to reinvest in America, guaranteed healthcare for all, equal access to quality education,  a safe, clean and health environment, good housing and protection from hunger,  and a secure retirement for everyone.

“The general citizen is being attacked from all fronts and the legislators are reluctant to have the wealthy pay their fare share,” said Sandy Raymond, a nurse at the University of Michigan.

“The money the banks received was used for the executives to buy their own stock and make it attractive to their shareholders.  But that money hasn’t made its way back to the people it was supposed to help,” she added.

The Associated Press-GfK poll is one of the first looks at how America feels about the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement. The poll was conducted October 13-17, 2001, by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.

It shows the number of angry people is growing deep as resentment grips the country.  The poll indicates that a majority of supporters are Democrats and Christian, but the anger about politics in general is much more widespread.

“I’m outraged. I’m not only angry, I’m mad as hell,” says Margaret Barden, a nurse with the Washtenaw County Public Health Department who was drinking coffee to stay warm and eating a Subway sandwich while waiting on duty. She came to ‘Occupy Detroit’ to show her support.

“I’m in foreclosure and I need medication for my son and which do you think is going to get paid? I’m not eligible for food stamps. Many of the people I see who are on welfare are doing better than me. I go to work every day and I’m losing my home. It’s angering”, says Barden.

Surprisingly, most people who support the protests—like most people who don’t—actually report good financial situations in their own households.

Jason Eagle of Roseville had been on hand for more than a week providing his skills as a chef. He was grilling chicken for a small group of hungry men in Grand Circus Park.  Eagle works for Reel Deal Catering, a company that provides food for the movie industry on location in Detroit.

“I have no political agenda. I’m just helping to cook the food being donated by people. We have two huge tents of food—way more than we know what to do with.” When asked how much he thought had been donated, Eagle was only able to say that he had cooked for hundreds of people.

Jessica Dawl, 26, of Hamtramck is the Food Director and has been nicknamed ‘Camp Momma’. Her job is a difficult one complicated by the amount of people coming to donate and keeping the place clean. “Our tents are overflowing. But we are trying to do more than feed people. We want to educate them on food and its effects on the body. “

On the day THRIVE Detroit visited the Occupation, 33 donations of clothing had been brought to the camp site. Crystal Burton, 34, Highland Park, was working the tent and estimates that more than a thousand donations have come in over a three month period. Her work area was overflowing with coats, sweaters, boots and scarves. Many of the Detroit’s homeless population were coming by to add on layers of clothing.

The protesters cite the economic crisis as a key reason for their unhappiness.  Of those surveyed in the poll, 39 percent were unemployed. The unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent nationally. Many homeowners owe more than their homes are worth. Foreclosures are rampant and many young people—the key demographic of the protesters—can’t find jobs or live on their own.

The poll found that most protest supporters do not blame President Barack Obama for the economic crisis. Sixty-eight percent say former President George W. Bush deserves “almost all” or “a lot, but not all” of the blame.