Occupying Civil Disobedience

by Abby Wendle


Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center gave Oklahoma public schools a failing grade in instruction about the Civil Rights Movement. But the young adults participating in Occupy Tulsa are putting one of the Civil Rights Movement’s strategies – civil disobedience – into practice. Here, the demonstrators explain the rationale behind their disobedience. One of the protesters announces his plans to pose a legal challenge to the city ordinance that is prohibiting them from occupying Centennial Green around the clock.


I don’t believe that Tulsa has the right to say that your freedom of assembly expires at 11 o’clock, and that’s why I volunteer for civil disobedience. I was arrested the second night.

I was one of the ten that were arrested and pepper sprayed.

A total of 13 of us stood out there on the grass and the police were coming up behind us. I remember I was just thinking okay, okay this is it.

As jazzed as I am to be thrown into the back of a police van, it’s not about a personal thrill or personal fulfillment; it’s about making sure that everybody knows this is a matter that’s worth fighting for.

On one side would be freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the other side would be the city’s right to enforce the curfew. It’s a law that the city put in place to keep the riffraff out of parks after hours.

My name is Brian Horton. I’m a second-year law student, I go to law school. What we’re going to do is file for an injunction. The injunction is to get the police to stop enforcing the curfew, saying that the right to protest, the right of free speech is higher than the city’s right to enforce the curfew.

To publicly gather and protest, express your grievances, is the most important thing in our society. If we don’t have that ability, it’s very difficult to make those grievances known, to make the true critical mass behind those protests known. That’s where the power to change is drawn from and that’s why it’s in the First Amendment.

Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

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…

Peaceably to assemble…

To assemble…
To assemble…

To assemble.

Do you know what assembly means?

Not really.

Not really?

That’s what we’ve been doing––peacefully assembling.

The right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

My name is Frank Grove.

My name is Anastasia Harlon (ph).

I’m Marshall.

My name is Minnow Sharp (ph).

I’m Minnow’s mom.

I’m Geri…

My name is Shannon Guss (ph)

I’m Stephanie Lewis

I’m Samantha Pritchett

I’m Daniel Lee

And I’m a member of…

Occupy Tulsa…

And of course the greater Occupy Wall Street movement.