For Tucson this past week has been a busy one. First the air was calming down after El Tour de Tucson, and gearing up for Buy Nothing Day and Shop Local Saturday, then on Thanksgiving the air was abuzz with how wonderful it was that Gabby Giffords was able to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the servicemen at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, which was uplifting, even though from my perspective it would have been more wonderful if she had served the homeless or the Occupy folks.
Then on the 23rd the busy-ness in Tucson became less upbeat as the Occupy Tucson movement geared up to stand up to the court’s decision to intensifiy of the nightly citations they received:
What it means now is – if a person who has more than two tickets for violating the city code which prohibits sleeping in the park after 10:30 p.m. – goes back to the park after 10:30, they face the more severe crime “interfering with judicial process.”
From what I can tell there are around 100 core occupiers in Tucson. That is a substantial number.
Mary DeCamp, the Green Party Candidate for Mayor in the recent election, was the first person actually arrested and jailed, rather than receiving a citation, on Thursday night, Thanksgiving Evening.
The next physical arrest, of a disabled woman, can be seen in the following video. Her statement that is read over the top of the following video, is well worth a read even if you don’t watch the whole video.
#OccupyTucson – Joan Zatorski Puca – A Disabled Woman Being Arrested by Tucson Police Dept 11 25 2011 from Mary K. Johnson on Vimeo.
Friday, Nov. 25, 2011
After much personal introspection, I came to the decision today that this evening I will place myself in position to be arrested at Pancho Villa Park downtown (Veinte de Agosto Park) and jailed in relation to my involvement in the OCCUPY MOVEMENT in Tucson.
I’ve been carefully studying and meditating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s most erudite essay, his “Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)” this past week. I am convinced that it is essential for deliberate, immediate attention be refocused on the issues of economic injustice which initially galvanized the OCCUPY MOVEMENT world-wide (as opposed to issues related to local city curfew, park ordinances, or even this issue of First Amendment Rights).
I have come to this conclusion not as a leader of any movement or group but as a singular individual desperately concerned about the profound suffering presently experienced by millions of human beings across every economic and social class, generation, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion, religious or spiritual belief.
In good conscience, I simply cannot let Mary DeCamp (recent Mayoral candidate, Tucson Peace Activist) be the lone Tucsonan willing to enter jail (as she did in the wee hours of November 25th) as a means of drawing attention to our country’s blatant issues regarding economic injustice.
As an educated white woman, legally disabled by illness, a civil servant with almost 20 years of service to children who were living at or below the poverty line, a mother, grandmother, spouse, avowed Christian, registered and consistently-participating voter, American citizen by birthright, granddaughter of immigrants, who has never been arrested, much less walked into a jail, I believe I am the most “common” example of the “common person” impacted by the devastatingly serious economic issues that thousands upon thousands of people are demanding be addressed.
I am you… we are all one and we are suffering. Only by uniting with one another can our most egregious issues be solved.
Look in my eyes and see the reflection of your own face, your own pain… Look again and see, as well, the possibility for redemption, for resolution, for renewal of all that is good within the soul of America.
In closing, I ask you to surround me with your personal prayers this evening. That I may stay committed to my decision to display non-violent behavior, speech, and attitude in the face of (what may be) a physically and
medically challenging experience for me tonight (and beyond).
Joan Zatorski Puca
So, local ordinances that are being enforced by Tucson Police are being used as though they supersede both the State and Federal Constitutions.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – United States Constitution, First Amendment, Bill Of Rights
“The right of petition, and of the people peaceably to assemble for the common good, shall never be abridged.” – Arizona Constitution, Article 2 Section 5
[Note that under this section, camping in the park because you are homeless (for personal gain) might be illegal, but for the common good (political protest) it is a protected activity]
The Constitution of the State of Arizona seems particularly clear in support of citizen protest of illegal financial practices by financial institutions and their state and federal regulators. Until the criminal financial abuse of the Citizens of the United States is stopped and the Federal Court system has equitably meted out justice to those who assaulted our financial system, it certainly seems like the State Constitution of Arizona explicitly protects the actions of the Occupy Tucson protesters.