(Photos by Deborah Sirotkin Butler)
Despite the blustery mix of snow and rain Sunday afternoon, more than 500 people streamed into First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington to attend a benefit concert for the Occupy Sandy relief efforts. Occupy Arlington had joined forces with two musical groups, the Mystic Chorale and the Family Folk Chorale, to put on the concert, to provide aid to those still dealing with the aftermath of the “super-storm.”
The idea was first proposed by Oakes Plimpton, a longtime progressive activist in Arlington, a month beforehand. The Occupy Arlington General Assembly approved and agreed to orchestrate the logistics of the event. The fruits of this collaboration between activists and musicians were evident as the fellowship hall filled with music by yesterday afternoon. Plenty of children were in the audience and in the chorus as well, helping to belt out heartfelt folk standards.
The audience was on its feet, swaying and singing along to Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” among others. In between sets, Occupy Boston activist and Arlington resident Josh Golin addressed the concert-goers. Six weeks before, Golin had organized the collection of urgently needed items and drove them from Arlington to New York as part of a ten-vehicle supply-laden caravan. Golin told the audience about the Occupy Wall Street activists “who put their skills and knowledge and practices of mutual aid” to work immediately after the storm, describing the successes of Occupy Sandy on the ground—and about the urgent needs that still remain.
In the end, more than $5,100 was raised, all of which will go directly to the relief effort.