Members of Occupy Harvard were invited to a conversation with the congregation of Memorial Church in Harvard Yard following the morning service. We were asked to share our perspectives and thoughts on the Occupy movement, and its specific connections to the faith community. Many of the parishoners had not yet encountered the Occupy movement “in the flesh,” and the ensuing conversation was lively, engaging and full of good faith. Some people asked questions, some wanted to discuss the closure of the gates, and others shared with us their own stories of protest.
One particular stand-out was Kenneth Reeves, former Cambridge Mayor and an alum of Harvard College. He described his involvement in the 1972 protest on this campus in which students held Massachusetts Hall for a week, demanding that Harvard divest from Gulf Oil (which had been underwriting oppressive regimes in Africa). At the end of the session, Reeves rose from the pew and movingly voiced support for Occupy Harvard, thanking us and noting that it takes a certain amount of courage to stand up for what is right. He should know.
Kenneth Reeves wrote a Crimson article reflecting on Harvard in 1972, which you can find here.