November 17, 2011
It’s been two months since anti-inequality protesters first settled in at Zuccotti Park in a movement that became known as “Occupy Wall Street.” To commemorate education’s unique role in the activism, protesters chose the Department of Education’s headquarters, Tweed Courthouse, as a meeting point for a much larger rally taking place tonight in Lower Manhattan.
Just as many of the DOE’s top officials were leaving Tweed to head to the department’s monthly Panel for Educational Policy meeting in Queens, a small and quiet group of 25 protesters milled about outside. Behind a heavy backdrop of police security that kept people away from the building and off the steps — which an “Occupy the DOE” rally filled 10 days ago — the group created signs, spoke through the echoing and iconic “people’s mic,” and eventually swelled to more than 50. But in the cold, wet evening, there was little of the festival-like atmosphere that organizers advertised.
“There’s less people than there were supposed to be,” said one of the teachers who attended. Then the group joined thousands of other protesters in converging on to Foley Square.