(Excerpt) There was also festive parts of the Wednesday strike.

A crowd of more than 300 parents with babies, toddlers and children of all ages marched from the main branch of the Oakland Public Library to 13th and Broadway as part of a “Children’s Brigade.” Children led the march and chanted “Who are the 99? We are the 99!” while parents with wagons, strollers and infants in carriers marched behind them, toting snacks, crayons, chalk and bubbles.

"I’m only 6. I can’t afford a lobbyist" read one sign.

Chris Specker, a Temescal resident who owns the “It’s Your Move” game store on Telegraph Avenue, attended the march with her 5-year-old daughter Sarah, who is in kindergarten at Oakland Unified’s Peralta Elementary. Specker said she was one of several Peralta parents who signed her daughter out of school at lunch time Wednesday.

"The concept is easy: everyone needs to share," said Specker, a single mom. "I closed my store to support the strike, and I want my daughter to learn that activism is important."

Parents and their kids formed a “children’s brigade” as part of the Occupy Oakland march and general strike.

About 200 adults with toddlers and school-age children gathered in front of the Oakland Public Library on Wednesday for a noontime stroller march that joined the main protest in downtown Oakland.

Mackay Gibbs and Sam Cunningham closed their Oakland bicycle shop for the day and brought their 2-year-old son Henry to the event, along with plenty of snacks.

Gibbs says the couple felt more comfortable bringing their child if they could join together with other families.

Demonstrators handed out signs written as if in a children’s crayon that read “Generation 99 Percent Occupying Our Future.” The marchers also attached the signs to their baby backpacks and strollers.

(Excerpt) Many more parents are, inspired by the commitment of the young people camping in the park for so many weeks, finding our own ways to confront the 1 percent and its pathetic lackeys. Parents are gathering to protest at Cuomo’s New York City offices on Election Day, in protest of the governor’s continued insistence on protecting the hedge fund set instead of our kids. Brooklyn public school parents have taken the lead on this action. 

Not even that bastion of the one percent, the Panel on Educational Policy (for more on the PEP, see this past September’s Report Card, “Our Fake School Board”) has been safe from OWS. As this column went to press, teachers, parents, children, and activists took over a PEP meeting, using “the people’s mic”—an OWS practice in which the group repeats what the speaker says, to make up for the fact that microphones are not permitted in Zuccotti Park—to drive Chancellor Walcott from the stage. The incident was the launch of Occupy DOE, whose next planned action was a People’s General Assembly on the steps of Tweed, to create a People’s Agenda for Our Schools. 

Don’t get me wrong: Occupy Wall Street is a diverse group, and not everyone sleeping in the park would even agree on the need to pressure the state to deliver better services like education. But that may not matter. The courage of the Occupy Wall Street protesters—and their astute naming of the problem—is slowly inspiring the rest of us to stand up to the 1 percent. 

It’s about time. 

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been sweeping the globe and captivating the media this month.  With the message “We are the 99%,” American protesters are drawing attention to the frustrating growth of income inequality in the United States.  Here in New York, working families have joined the protests, and parents are working together to highlight the many struggles of today’s families, such as the rapidly rising costs of health care and child care.  On Columbus Day, many children visited Zuccotti Park, the movement’s home base just a few blocks away from A Better Balance’s office.  Based on the continuing interest of New York families, Parents for Occupy Wall Street also held a family sleepover in the park last weekend.

The timing of this family involvement in Occupy Wall Street is notable because October is National Work and Family Month.  This is an opportune time to consider the frustrations of many American parents who struggle to manage the competing demands of work and family. Because our country has done little to support the work of caring through public policy, families are left to confront these challenges largely on their own.  All families are affected—even the 1%—but for those with fewer financial resources, the problem is particularly severe…

Parents are protesting, Lisa Duggan writes, because they want a better future for their children.

It started simply enough. Dana Glazer and I (Dana is the documentary filmmaker of The Evolution of Dad) were playing email-tag, trying to find a day to have lunch, when he wrote:

Do you think there’s a parenting angle to the protests currently going on at Wall Street? I’m itching to go down there with a camera but was thinking that maybe there’s a mom / dad angle to this? What do you think?

Not only did I like his angle, I had been thinking along similar lines.

Avi Nathman (aka @TheMamaFesto) and I had just finished drafting an open letter to the 2012 Presidential Candidates, which addresses many of the same issues Occupy Wall Street and the numerous Occupations around the world do. We chose to sign the letter, “From the Mothers and Fathers of America.” (More on the letter later, and how you can participate.)

Before I could hit send, Dana wrote back to say he had found this group while Googling—Parents For Occupy Wall Street. They were planning the world’s largest sleepover in Zuccotti Park on Friday, October 21, and he was going to be there to film the event—and did I want to come?…

As Occupy Seattle enters its fifth week, protesters held a pumpkin-carving event for families at Westlake Park. Most of the protesters are staying at a base camp on the south lawn of Seattle Central Community College.

Great photographs

Another member of the movement, Kerby Desmarais, came to the protests with her infant son donning a sign saying, “This child cannot afford health care.”

Desmarais told CP that her family cannot afford to pay for private insurance, but do not qualify for public assistance because they make over $30,000 a year.

When asked about Obama’s statements, Desmarais, said, “I don’t see him down here,” but said that she would like to see him participate in the movement.

She added that she finds it irrelevant which party comes to power to make much-needed change and said, “I don’t care what party does it, I want my baby to be taken care of.”

Last week, the post that got the most Facebook shares on the blog was on how families could sleep over to support the effort of Occupy Wall Street. What that says to me is that you all are moved by what is going on with the movement, want to educate your kids about it and want to find ways to get involved.

The park’s makeshift collective library has a children’s section, complete with a copy of “Harry Potter,” Beverly Cleary titles and Meg Cabot’s “Holiday Princess.” A group called Parents for Occupy Wall Street, headed by Kirby Desmarais, a Brooklyn mother and record label owner, even organized a sleepover at the park for more than 80 parents and children on a recent weekend night. (The families had to be moved at dawn to make way for new police lines and barricades.) Spin-off parent groups have sprung up in other cities like Denver and Seattle.

But most mothers and fathers bring their children on their own. Some recall marching in antiwar protests in the 1960s and ’70s, and say they would like to show their children what it means to be part of a large movement advocating for social change. Those with babies and toddlers admit that the children are unlikely to remember anything of their time at Zuccotti Park, but that they believe the children will one day appreciate that they were present.” Helaine Olen