Occupy Baltimore is not what you think. Chances are, if all you've seen or heard are the mainstream media's accounts, you hardly have a clue.
After reading several media accounts of Occupy Wall Street's local offshoot, Occupy Baltimore, the investigative journalist inside me decided it was time to find out for myself what this was really about.
In the course of several extended visits, including one day this week spending the entire night, until five in the morning with the group, I can say with confidence, I have a more thorough understanding of the group, than any other member of media in Baltimore.
Sure there may be a myriad of issues, and gripes represented by the collective. But that's just it. While many critics say the group should focus on a few issues, what's being missed by many is, there are numerous local issues, neglected and ignored for so long, all needed attention by the masses, but more importantly, the powers that be, the government and large corporations lording over them.
In a follow up story I will be post some of the audio interviews conducted while down there and expand more on my thoughts. For now I must say, many of the initial media accounts were a little less than accurate.
Most glaring among the misinformation I've read, is the group, mostly dominated by young white men, is largely bereft of participation by racial minorities. This couldn't be further from the truth.nIn my night with the group, there was definitely a sizable contingent of Baltimore's majority black population. I also saw a wide range of age groups represented.
Second, the crowd sizes published have been based on daytime observations. Interestingly enough, the groups size is much larger at night. Believe it or not, many of the occupiers have day jobs, and or attend school, leaving night time, the only opportunity to come out and demonstrate.
My own observations were confirmed in several conversations by different participants.
I plan to spend considerably more time with Occupy Baltimore. There will be follow up stories bringing you a much more comprehensive picture of what's really going on down at McKeldin Square.
In the meantime, if you're really curious, I urge you to take a trip down to the corner of Light and Pratt street and see for yourself. Just don't cut work to do it.