TORRINGTON — Yep. You guessed it. A grassroots movement connecting with the nationwide ‘Occupy’ events is percolating in Torrington.
Occupy Torrington only consists of three people right now, with its Facebook group boasting 20 “Likes,” but organizer Stephanie Piddock said she hopes the northwest corner of Connecticut will join the movement that naturalized this fall a mere 115 miles south in New York City.
“I’d like to have a voice,” she said. “I’d like to have a government that is responsive to the people. When this first started, I was really interested. I was ready to go down there.
“I thought by starting the Torrington group, we could create some dialogue,” Piddock added.
Piddock said there are no plans to host a protest or event quite yet, but she’s hoping the movement will gain momentum locally, adding to the thousands of voices across the country.
“I wasn’t thinking of a protesting marching type group as it would be an off shoot of occupy New Haven. I wanted to get the group together so that we have a voice,” she said.
On Tuesday, the local Occupy movement had a meeting, Piddock said, focusing on the nationwide spread of groups. Their goal is to better communicate the movement’s wide-held campaign on finance reform – the main topic of cries from Wall Street. Piddock said the announcement President Barack Obama made Wednesday regarding mortgages and student loans reform was a direct impact of the national Occupy movement.
Locally, it’s about keeping people informed.
“We’re trying to localize the national and international Occupy movements,” Piddock said. “I feel the media has painted a poor picture in the Occupy Wall Street movement. They aren’t too happy about it. I want to bring awareness to our area.”
After being debriefed on the group, which also carries the Twitter handle @OccuTorrington, Mayor Ryan Bingham said it’s always pleasant to see citizens engage in their democracy.
“We always like to see people in the community stand for something and be involved, and try to peacefully protest, if they think it’s necessary,” he said. “I encourage them to fight for what they believe in as long, as it doesn’t hinder other peoples’ freedoms.
“If nothing else, at least the message is getting across nationwide,” Bingham added.
While the protesters in New York and across the United States are demanding financial reform in government, Piddock is hoping the spark of her group will ignite the mostly blue collar audience in northwest Connecticut.
Occupy Torrington, Piddock said, is all about supporting the larger movement and networking with groups across the board. There has been support for Occupy Hartford, Occupy Willimantic and larger outlets like Occupy Boston, but the hope for Piddock is to get more people interested in the worldwide movement — locally.
Reach Ricky Campbell by e-mail at email@example.com, on Twitter @rickycampbellRC, or by phone at (860) 489-3121 x343. Follow us online at registercitizen.com and on Twitter @RegisterCitizen.