Occupy Michigan

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Occupy movement is taking over a downtown Kalamazoo park this week.

Activists old and young are in Kalamazoo from all across the country.   The Occupy activists are talking about a lot of different things from economic issues to racism.  And since this is an Occupy gathering, that means everyone will have a say on everything.

And Iwanka from Philadelphia says they're also inviting anyone else who wants to to take part.

“This is an open invitation to the entire public to come down and tackle some democracy issues,” says Iwanka.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

39-year-old Richard Ertle and 23-year-old Ryan Gillikin share their thoughts today on WBUR's nationally syndicated "Here and Now" program.

Gillikin graduated recently for Grand Valley State University. He's been protesting with the Grand Rapids group since it began earlier this month. He waits tables in between protests.

Ertle is a student at Grand Rapids Community College studying network administration. I've seen him at the occupy protests downtown every time I've visited or biked by. He freelances for small and medium sized businesses providing networking services.

Ertle and Gillikin both told host Robin Young they don't speak for everyone at the protests, and they don't all agree on why they're protesting. "But we listen to one another," Ertle said, "which is more than what our elected representatives are willing to do."

Here and Now airs on Michigan Radio at 1p.m. weekdays.

I drove into downtown Traverse City on Saturday afternoon, and to my surprise, found an Occupy Wall Street demonstration occupying both sides of Front Street, the town’s main drag.

Well, it was actually called an “Occupy Traverse City,” demonstration. The protestors, who numbered perhaps fifty or sixty, seemed more cheerful than angry. The weather was brisk but pleasant; it was a nice day to be outside.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in New York showed up at a Democratic fundraiser hosted by Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday evening.

Biden made stops in Flint and Grand Rapids to promote President Obama’s American Jobs Act before switching to campaign mode.

At least 50 protesters marched on the sidewalk outside the $500 per dinner private event. The event raised money for the 2012 presidential election.

“We can get Mr. Biden’s attention,” Richard Ertl said. He’s wearing a sticker on the back of his head that reads “we are the 99%”. “We can get them to listen to us and know that we’re starting to gel up and become cohesive as a people,” Ertl said.

Ertl and other say they’re not protesting Biden but want to send a message. He says protestors want politicians to listen to one another and work together to solve the nation’s financial problems. 

“Occupy Grand Rapids" held its first big meeting over the weekend. They’re now camping out in a church parking lot (private property) downtown after spending several days in a public park near the Grand River.

He says they meet for general assemblies everyday at noon and 6 p.m.