Occupy protesters have taken a wide array of approaches to further their power-to-the-people message — kumbaya-style public sit-ins, noisy protests at banks that are blamed for terrible economic conditions, and occasionally vandalism as witnessed in Oakland this weekend — either a tactic or an outcome, depending on your source.
But here’s a new one: In Seattle, Babylonia Aivaz — surrounded by loving friends and lavishly outfitted activists — married a building, in a ceremony Sunday that was documented by the Seattle PI.
"When I look at this building I see a community center, I see a community art space, I see a homeless shelter, I see free childcare, I don't see a building, I see a space that can address all the needs of our neighborhood,” Aivaz told KING 5 television.
In order to seal her commitment to the 107-year-old warehouse building — and protest the sweeping gentrification in the city—she donned white, declared her love, and uttered “I do.” A sign on the building, also promised “I DO,” at least until death do them apart — most likely this week, when the building is slated to be demolished to make way for a new apartment complex.
The action took on several issues at once. Aivaz was drawing attention to the building in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, which activists wanted to use as a community space. She argued that if a corporation could have personhood — then a building has enough “personhood” to get married. She also declared the building a woman, thus putting in a plug for gay marriage.
The crowd that gathered for the union of building and woman was largely festive, featuring bubbles, music and a vegan potluck, according to local coverage, but some bystanders objected to activists calling it a gay marriage, especially at a moment when the issue of same-sex marriage is under serious discussion in the state of Washington.
Johnny McCollum-Blair attended to protest the protest, told KOMO TV that calling the union a “gay marriage” was “irresponsible” because it could give ammunition to the Christian Right and politicians.
It “gives them a chance to say, ‘See, we told you — they’re going to want to marry everything if we give them the opportunity’,” he said, carrying a sign that read “Marriage is between 2 people.”
“It was definitely… thought provoking. Maybe it was too thought provoking,” said Joshua Farris, an Occupy Seattle activist who was familiar with the action. “This is our challenge every day. We need to think of ways to provoke people’s imaginations. At the same time has to be a message they can wrap their head around.”
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