The most exhilarating moment of my life was November 15, 2011, shortly before 6PM, when the police kicked us out of the park at 3AM, and we had been waiting since noon for the police to let us back in. A drum circle had opened up by the entrance on Liberty Street, and we were all dancing with our signs as the park was closed. We were on the perimeter of the sidewalk around the park. I held a sign which read “You cannot evict an idea”, attached to a copy of that day’s New York Times. Its front page was that of the eviction of Occupy Oakland, as our dispossession at Zuccotti Park happened late enough that night not to make the next day’s paper.
But here we were, adamant and assured we would be given our park back by the courts and the First Amendment. A police commander got on the megaphone and announced: “Attention, everyone. I’m going to let you back in the park.” We felt there was a “but” attached to that sentence, so we waited before we interrupted.
But the speaker curiously held the pause, insisting we could have our moment.
The crowd roared. I have never cheered so hard in my life. The mayor and police commissoner said we couldn’t have our park, but before dusk, we proved we could.
The speaker went on to say no sleeping bags or tents, and that put an end to our sleepover occupation and our movement hasn’t been the same since; but that moment of joy is unrivalled in my life and few people will ever know anything like it.