In camp, loss and confusion meet resolve
After Mayor Thomas M. Menino set a midnight Thursday deadline for protesters to leave Dewey Square, the immediate future was unclear: Would they pack up and peaceably leave? Would they resist police efforts to remove them? Or would they dance at midnight?
As protesters stood in Dewey Square in 30-degree weather, some expressed concerns about immediate strategies for the deadline or where they would go if the encampment were shut down.
Others said they were willing to get arrested. Many said they were proud of the work Occupy Boston did during its time in the square, and regardless of the outcome, would never forget their experience there.
In a stirring speech at a camp meeting, Alex Ingram, 22, and a former airman,, said he is proud of the work Occupy Boston has done.
“I will always carry the memory of this time and these people with me,’’ Ingram said. “Never stop fighting, and never give up.’’
Ingram, a native of Georgia, said he had never expected to join an international protest movement. But now, after three months, he said he can’t imagine life without his tent mates, who have become like family.
What will he do when he no longer has a home at Occupy?
“I’ll probably go to jail, so that’s one night taken care of,’’ he joked.
For Brian Kwoba, 29, of East Cambridge, the expulsion from Dewey Square is a serious situation.
So he was not sure why people wanted to dance.
“I think this movement is about basic rights, and among other things, that includes the right to assemble,’’ Kwoba said. “Dancing is a recreational activity, and to me, it sends the message that we don’t take our rights seriously.’’
Stephen Campbell, 24, of Stoughton, said he thinks the message of the Occupy movement has gotten across regardless of the tent city’s future.
Campbell scrawled the words, “You can’t evict an idea’’ on an overhead projection at the camp. “It’s not about where the encampment is. The idea of revolution is now in people’s minds,’’ he said.
Alexandra Stanichuk, 21, has been living in a tent with her boyfriend and others since Occupy Boston started.
“This is my home. This is my family. If you don’t have something and someone else has something, they’ll share it with you,’’ Stanichuk said. “They’re evicting my family.’’
Stanichuk, who said that she has lived in Foxborough, Providence, Medford, and Dorchester, bouncing around between abusive boyfriends and abusive relatives, was walking around with a backpack and a cellphone - the only things that she has.
She approached a group of police officers, and asked them what she could do if she had to leave.
“I don’t want to get arrested if I stay here, so what do I do?’’ she said. The officers directed her to a city van waiting to take some of the tent city’s homeless residents to shelters.
But she won’t accept the shelter if she cannot stay with her boyfriend.
Another occupier who asked only to be identified as Jamie B., 23, of Boston, who works as a freelance animator, was packing up her tent Thursday afternoon. Jamie was rolling up sleeping bags and other pieces of insulation in the small tent she had camped in since day three of the occupation.
She said she hopes the message has gotten across. “I want my politicians to work for me and for the rest of the people,’’ she said.
Taylor M. Miles can be reached at email@example.com.