Occupy Oxford Hills sets public meetings

NORWAY — Occupy Oxford Hills, a local group formed in response to the Occupy Wall Street movement, has announced its meeting schedule for January, when they hope to solidify action to help needy people in the area.

The meetings are set for Thursday, Jan. 12, and Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Norway town office. Meetings will begin at 7 p.m. and the public is encouraged to participate.

“We want to find our common interest and talk about what this movement really means,” organizer Tom Whitney said.

Although the group has been meeting at 10 a.m. each Saturday since Nov. 10 to stage an hourlong vigil in front of the Norway Public Library on Main Street, Whitney said many of the participants, who come from Norway, Harrison, Oxford, West Paris and other local towns, really don't know each other well.

The meeting will give them a chance to exchange ideas about what they as a group can do for people in the area, he said.

“We want to find new ways to provide for people,” he said of needy families, especially those who have lost their homes to foreclosures.

According to information from the group, the name “Occupy Oxford Hills” comes from the Occupy Wall Street movement that reminds the nation of prevailing disparities of income and opportunity.

“The group is proceeding on the assumption, shared with Occupy Wall Street, that solutions depend upon common efforts of people with varied ideas and interests,” members said in a press release. “Group members say that for them 'occupy' means standing up anywhere for basic rights for all people.”

The agenda will include a discussion on preparation of educational materials about the movement, how to educate people about the issues and how to act locally to help those in need. The group has emphasized its desire to support local businesses and work toward local food production.

Occupy Oxford Hills collects nonperishable food for delivery at local food banks at each meeting.

Whitney said although the group was fairly late in organizing last year, about 40 people showed up for the initial meeting. Since then 10 to 15 people attend each meeting. Whitney said he is hoping for more people to attend the meeting at the Norway town office.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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