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Occupy members offer town hall meeting to reexamine chalk protest

August 2, 2012 | 12:44 pm

A small group of Occupy members have helped organize a town hall meeting Thursday evening to talk with community members about the chalk protest at last month’s downtown Art Walk event.

"This is a small working group trying to figure out community organizing and outreach techniques -- something that we can eventually propose to all of Occupy L.A. at general assembly," Cheryl Aichele said.

She along with Esteban Gil, Jamie Garcia and other fellow Occupy members launched the Creating Community Awareness Coalition and spent most of the last three weeks reaching out to residents and small businesses to discuss what happened that night.

"We got a spectrum of feedback," Aichele said, "people who supported us and were critical of the police, and people who were critical of us. We got yelled at by some and … heard very candid responses."

During the July 12 protest, which resulted in 17 arrests, members of the Occupy L.A. movement joined forces with some homeless rights advocates and used chalk to express their anger about gentrification in downtown and how, in their view, it was pushing out the poor.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Los Angeles Theatre Center at 5th and Spring streets. Professional mediators will be present, and the United Methodist Church helped rent the space. The Rev. Sandie Richards, a founding board member of the downtown Art Walk, has agreed to help organize and facilitate the format of the town hall meeting, Aichele said.

Art Walk organizers are aware of the meeting. One board member, Patti Berman, said, "We’ll see what happens after it."

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--Rosanna Xia

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