On Wednesday, November 9th down at Liberty Square, Occupy Wall Street had a real life Footloose moment. A young man was arrested for dancing on the sidewalk and charged with disorderly conduct.
It may be one of the less significant moments in Occupy Wall Street history but the resulting action epitomized do much of what is driving the Occupy movement.
The next evening a group of musicians came together and suggested we sing and dance our way down to NYPD headquarters. Soon there were probably fifty or more Occupiers surrounding the impromptu Bluegrass band.
We started with a couple trips around Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) and then headed up Broadway with a huge contingent of police who kindly escorted us (sarcasm), even stopped traffic for us.
Lots of great songs were sung. People danced. People laughed. At one point, as we neared police headquarters, we even sang to the NYPD: “NYPD won’t you come out tonight and dance in the pale moonlight.” The caravan of police were mostly laughing as they heard this.
When we got to police headquarters the violin player (pictured to the far left) used the people’s mic to inform the 50 or so police of what happened and assure them that if they wished to apologize we would accept it with open arms. We also asked them to please not arrest us for having a good time.
What followed was a great little Square Dance on the steps of police headquarters followed by a joyous march with more singing and dancing back to Liberty Square.
It was fun. It was creative. It was openly defiant of police repression and yet jovial enough that the police had a hard time not laughing or smiling. Onlookers couldn’t help but smile. It was beautiful and but one of the many reasons we occupy.