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Occupiers get theatrical
May 10, 2012, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal Robin Hansen, with the Mid-Peninsula American Dream Council, donned a wedding dress yesterday to ask a local bank to marry her since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled corporations are legally people.


Whether they are called Occupiers, the 99 percent or simply members of the local Dream Council, the groups that have staged rallies at the county courthouse and various banks in Redwood City in recent months have a flare for theatrics — literally.

Some dress up as the Statue of Liberty or fat bankers with cigars and others give themselves fake names such as Philip T. Rich to highlight the great divide between the so-called 1 percent and everybody else.

Yesterday, Robin Hansen, with the Mid-Peninsula American Dream Council, donned a wedding dress and asked a downtown Redwood City Bank of America branch to marry her in a skit she performed.

She did not get an answer from the bank. In fact, bank employees locked the doors to her and the rest of her supporters just after the noon hour yesterday.

They marched on the local BofA branch as its corporate board of directors held an annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. yesterday.

Hansen asked BofA to marry her to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s assertion that a corporation be treated as a person. Occupiers are calling to "abolish corporate personhood” and BofA is being asked to help rebuild the American economy by paying its fair share of taxes.

BofA and other big banks need to show accountability for their roles in the subprime mortgage fiasco by halting foreclosures and keeping people in their homes, members of the local dream council contend.

"We are standing in solidarity with protesters in Charlotte,” said Gary Graham, with the local dream council. "We are trying to pressure banks to become good corporate citizens.”

While Hansen was busy prepping for her fake wedding with the bank yesterday, another group just down the street called Occupy Redwood City was busy protesting foreclosure sales at the San Mateo County Center at Marshall and Hamilton streets. While this group does not take to wearing costumes so much, members have been known to block streets, storm banks and make disparaging remarks to police and local political figures depending on the issue and venue.

The theatrics are meant to bring the groups attention and greater support for their causes, Graham said.

Mid-Peninsula American Dream Council members have staged several skits or mini-plays on the streets but most of their audience has essentially been each other, except for passing motorists who give the occasional honk of acknowledgment.

"We like to amuse ourselves, also,” Graham said.

The concept is street theater, he said, and the goal is to catch the attention of passersby.

"It is all about raising awareness,” Graham said.

The Mid-Peninsula American Dream Council is affiliated with the national MoveOn.org movement.


Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.


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