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Occupy Dallas: Still Standing Even Though Tents Are Down

Occupy Dallas protester Reagan Clark at camp (flag bandana) after court hearing.
Occupy Dallas protester Reagan Clark at camp (flag bandana) after court hearing.

It's been a month since Occupy Dallas protesters were evicted from their camp behind City Hall. Protesters promised to continue daily downtown demonstrations but that faded. KERA's BJ Austin says some occupiers say they'll be back!

"The movement is by no means dead. It's morphing into something that's a little more long-term and sustainable, and capable of growth, actually."

Reagan Clark was there from beginning: when Occupy Dallas kicked off October 6th with a march to the Federal Reserve. And he was there when police raided the second camp behind Dallas City Hall and dispersed the occupiers November 17th.

Clark is now sharing an aging, blue two-story, wood house in Old East Dallas with a half a dozen fellow occupiers. Taking refuge from the rain under the leaky porch roof, Clark talked optimistically about the future of Occupy Dallas.

Clark: Since our camp was shut down, we've had a lot more outreach to other occupies that are within range. It seems to have mobilized the base that wants to continue to work together even if they're not living in tents next door to each other.

Rachel Kennemer says the raid on the Occupy Dallas camp was a good thing.

Kennemer: Because then what you see is all of these different people splitting off and suddenly taking the initiative that they maybe didn't take when we were back in camp and when you could rely on somebody else to take the initiative. And so, everyone's doing a lot of really wonderful things. And I believe that it's spreading.

Kennemer and Clark say they're keeping up on issues; blogging; Facebooking; Tweeting, and working on creating "intentional communities" - maybe one in Deep Ellum. Clark says an intentional community is where people live and work together in a respectful, eco-friendly sustainable manner.

Protesters John Chisum and Reagan Clark say people are mistaken if they think Occupy Dallas has gone away.

Chisum: The people are still there. Their lives are still heavily involved in the movement. It just may not be as obvious as being in a park and marching through the streets everyday. But we're still working towards raising awareness and trying to make a change somehow.

Clark: I think a lot of people are looking toward spring to getting back out there and doing some real occupying and as long as this disparity of wealth exists, this issue is not going away.

Neither are the criminal trespass charges filed after protester arrests during Occupy Dallas's six weeks downtown. Two dozen occupiers face court dates in the coming months.

Email BJ Austin


Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.