ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Evan Anderson has lived in Alaska for five years, and in that time, he's noticed something about the people here.
Protestors erected a "Camp Done-Leavy" banner at the Occupy to Overcome event at the Delaney Park Strip.
“The more typical Alaskan is the one who's ready to help their neighbor, who's ready to extend a helping hand” Anderson says.
That's one of the themes of Occupy to Overcome, an event Anderson helped organize. Occupy to Overcome is a sit-in at the Delaney Park Strip that started Friday and continues through Sunday — the third sit-in at the park strip since July 3. While the first two were to encourage the Alaskan legislature to override Gov. Dunleavy's budget vetoes, Occupy to Overcome has now taken the discussion in a different direction.
“We recognize that the solutions to this crisis are not gonna come from the government,” Anderson says. “We recognize that the solutions to this budget crisis are in Alaskans coming together, meeting our own needs, supporting each other, identifying the needs, and working together for creative, and just solutions."
The discussions have included how to fill the gaps left by budget cuts in an effort to combat social issues like homelessness, and how to increase the political representation of those who oppose the cuts.
Fellow organizer Chantal Dealcuaz says there are two key pieces to the puzzle. “One is supporting each other amidst the cuts. Like whether that's figuring out how to have informal networks to provide housing or food, so sort of the support system," Dealcuaz said, "and B, building our movement."
In addition to the ongoing discussions, there's been a community potluck, a vigil for Alaskans who have died from lack of shelter or support, and art projects focused on shaping Alaska's future. While many at the park strip are unhappy with the failure of the legislature to overturn the governor's vetoes, they are determined to continue supporting each other.
“As Alaskans, we're gonna come together, and we're gonna find ways to creatively meet those needs, and support our neighbors and our communities,” Anderson says.