Occupy Charlotte has been busy lately. Between reorganizing and planning how to protest at the Democratic National Convention, they've taken up another cause.
The group will meet at 600 E. Trade St. on Saturday at 1 p.m. to fight against Amendment One, which, according to the group, "would write discrimination into our state constitution and ban legal recognition for all unmarried couples, stripping all unmarried couples and their children of rights and protections."
They were also at Monday's City Council meeting, where Dan Murrey, the 2012 DNC Host Committee executive, updated members on convention plans.
A woman wearing a bike helmet wrapped in caution tape sat during the meeting. Like a silent storm, Scottie Wingfield, 36, of Occupy Charlotte alternated between handwritten signs saying, "Illegal During the DNC" and "Occupy DNC." While Murrey discussed a potential bike share program for delegates and others, the fact remains that, due to a Jan. 23 city ordinance, the city manager can declare an "extraordinary event" for virtually any reason. This would prohibit people from bringing items like a bike helmet to any DNC event during that time.
Murrey discussed a plan to expand recycling uptown and provide reusable water bottles, which are on the ban list. Sharpies and other non-water-based markers are considered potential "flame-throwers." The Charlotte Police Department may even profile protestors based on backpacks, another item on the list, as grounds for an "extraordinary event," Wingfield said.
Murrey announced that the Host Committee added a FAQ page and events calendar to their official website. The public can register for free tickets to the Monday Labor Day Event Kick-off on Sept. 2. City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield expressed concern for those without Internet access, to which Murrey replied that they are working on how to reach out to that community. He said Charlotte is known to "do good and do good together."
One issue that was left out of the presentation was funding for the DNC. The city must raise $36.5 million to host the convention from Sept. 3 to 7.
"Funding is a problem that hasn't been discussed thus far," said Michael Zytkow, 25, who also attended as part of Occupy Charlotte. "It sounds like they're struggling to get funds."
At the end of Murrey's presentation, Mayor Anthony Foxx said they were at a critical juncture in the planning phase. He reinforced the importance of these legacy projects, which are designed to better Charlotte during and after the convention has left town. "This is the piece our citizens will be left with after this is over."