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  • Occupy Seattle had faced some recent blows. Though our "Night of 500 Tents" was a success in that we banded down with hundreds of tents in Westlake Park after some protestors were arrested for doing just that during the week, we were continually harassed every hour on the hour by police shaking us awake. The tension was rising among campers. There were others like me who wanted the movement to focus on the real criminals--the Wall Street bankers and corporate hooligans who had stolen our government, our election process and our economy. However, many could only see the uniformed officers as just one more example of totalitarianism they were forced to swallow, and channeled their anger toward those officers with cursing, spitting and worse.

    But anger is only an emotion, and emotions are not permanent. As the sun shined brightly one Saturday morning in Seattle--a rarity for our gray city--I was biking home from kickboxing class and got an idea in my head. My friend Teresa and I were already planning on visiting the encampment, what if I could bring a little joy to the movement, all on my own? What would single handedly make anyone smile? As I rounded the Burke Gilman Trail and approached Theo's Chocolate Factory on my left--the only organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar factory in the U.S.--it hit me. I could Choc-upy Seattle!

    I turned my bike sharply left into the parking lot, and headed straight back....to the dumpster. It is well known to food rescuers all over Seattle that during the day, the Theo's Chocolate dumpster is a mecca for bars upon bars of chocolate goodness. The compost bin becomes full of chips and scraps, and multiples of fully shaped bars that never made it to the colorful foil wrappers.

    Hipsters with dreads and corduroy pants had already climbed up and leaned in, the longest of the three reaching for blocks upon blocks to hand to his friends. He saw me coming, smiled, and without asking, offered me my own stack. I had nothing with me but the clothes on my back, so I shoved the bars into my hoodie pocket, and biked the remaining four blocks home.

    I called Teresa and shared my plan as I wiped off and cleaned up the chocolate. She squealed joyfully at the thought. Organic, fair trade, choc-upying of Seattle. What fun!

    We arrived to a bare bones operation, a smattering of campers and organizers still there after nights and nights on end. What looked like exhaustion and a bit of frustration quickly broke out into smiles as we broke off chunks and offered our dumpstered joy.

    I gave it all away. Every last bar from the mound of yummy chocolate. No police officer, greedy CEO or Wall Street banker could take that away from me.
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