BANGOR, Maine — Three-year-old Morgan Taheny of Bangor danced as her mother, stepfather and grandfather sang along with some 20 Occupy Bangor demonstrators gathered Saturday to celebrate a day for kids and families.
On Morgan’s right cheek was a red heart and on her left was a butterfly, both painted by Sunny Hughes, a spokeswoman for Occupy Bangor.
Behind the girl, propped up against the statue in Peirce Park, signs read “Make jobs, not war,” “I don’t like things that are unfair,” or “Dissent is Patriotic.”
“Get a job, you [expletives],” a man shouted from a car as it traveled up Center Street hill behind the library.
A few demonstrators waved at the driver. Morgan didn’t seem to take notice and danced on.
The singing continued, with folk classics and well known children’s songs, such as “Baby Beluga,” and “Shake Your Sillies Out.”
Off to the side, standing near a fire to stay warm, Shawn Yardley, director of the city of Bangor’s Department of Health and Community Services, and his 13-year-old daughter Kira looked on and listened to the music.
“I wanted her to have a chance to see what’s going on,” Yardley said, adding that it was important for him, personally, to see what people in Bangor are talking about.
Kira said her social studies class at All Saints Catholic School has been talking about the Occupy demonstrations.
Kira said she has never spent the night in a tent, and asked her dad if they could bring a tent down to the grounds and brave the cold for a night during the demonstration.
Shawn Yardley said he’d think about it.
“We haven’t learned a lot about [the Occupy demonstrations], but that’s why I came down here,” Kira said.
That’s the purpose of the family day, Hughes said. It gives kids a chance to see the protest firsthand, and gives parents a way of explaining to their kids what the Occupy movement is about, she said.
Hughes said she explained Occupy Bangor to her son by saying, “the reason that I [demonstrated] is so that I could look him in the eye when he’s older and say I did everything I could.”
At noon, some demonstrators were scheduled to take a bus to Augusta to join Occupy protesters there for a march on the State House.
The group will then return and maintain its presence outside the library. About six demonstrators consistently stay at the site overnight in tents set up on the grounds.
“It’s very cold, but we encourage people to give [sleeping in tents outside] a shot,” she said.
Hughes said the demonstrators plan on an “indefinite occupation,” and that she hopes more people come out to join Occupy Bangor and show support for the week-old movement, in spite of the cold.
Hughes’ 10-year-old son Skyler was on hand for family day, joining in on the songs.
During a break in the music, he said he spends weekends during the day at Occupy Bangor, and sometimes stops by after school during the week if there aren’t any other activities scheduled after the final bell.
He said kids at school are curious about the protests, and that some have asked him why demonstrators haven’t given up.
“I think we shouldn’t give up,” Skyler said, “because if we just give up, nothing’s ever going to change.”