october 2011 protest in washington, dc

as the occupy movement stretches across the united states, the october 2011protest is taking place in freedom plaza in washington, dc.  the protest, organized months before occupy wall street began in new york city, is an amalgamation of anti-war activists and war veterans who are protesting america’s wars in the middle east.  while the protest has become synonymous with occupy dc, the demographics and demands are very different.  at october 2011, the protesters were middle-aged, mostly white and united around the common goal of ending what they see as us dollars being used to fund imperial wars.

i spoke at length with don anderson (pictured below) a vietnam veteran who says he’s been protesting wars since he returned from vietnam and received a spinal injury at a veterans’ hospital in portland, oregon.  he described his struggles as a disabled veteran being ignored by the veteran’s administration despite his success as a us soldier, receiving several medals of honor and commendations.
the lack of racial diversity at october 2011 stuck out like a sore thumb, and i asked one sister, jimeislen northen (grandson pictured in the stroller below) what motivated her to be a part of the protest.  “i felt motivated to be a part of change.  i’ve been out of work for over a year.  i came to dc after spending a week at occupy wall street in new york. as the numbers of protesters and protests grow, people in power will be forced to listen.” ms. northern believes people of color are less aware of the issues and how change occurs, prohibiting them from taking part in the occupy movement.

although many of the protesters came to dc to engage in civil disobedience and planned to get arrested after remaining at freedom plaza past the city’s alloted permit time of 2 pm on sunday, october 10th, city officials offered to extend october 2011’s permit for 4 months.  that means the protest has legitimacy through the winter, when temperatures drop to hypothermic conditions in washington, dc.  the government’s extension worked to quell the media attention october 2011 would have received had the nearly 100 protesters been arrested.
don anderson, vietnam veteran
teenagers dancing in the plaza while the protest took place in the background
jimeislen northern’s grandson is fast asleep in his stroller
all pictures taken by t olugbala and are a product of politics and fashion.  please credit the source when using these images.

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