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Occupy Louisville Wrongly Evicted for 2012 Kentucky Derby: Fan’s View

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Last year, TIME Magazine awarded "The Protester" as the Person of the Year and included the Occupy Wall Street movement. In spite of this, administrators behind the city's involvement in the super-rich filled Kentucky Derby are not honoring Occupy Louisville's celebrity status. They are also not associating Occupy Louisville with the Derby's anti-poverty fundraising traditions.

While the group may have a presence for the event, the city (not associated with the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Derby Festival) decided Occupy Louisville tents in Founder's Square in Downtown Louisville should come down before Derby festivities.

Opposing Occupy the 2012 Kentucky Derby

In the comments section of blog posts at Louisville.com and MSNBC.com, posters write angry words that are not in support of Occupy Louisville. Online, Louisville news agencies range from neutrality to negativity on the eviction matter. Naturally, there is always opposition to every cause, but Occupy Louisville has been holding strong and has over 8500 Facebook likes to boot.

As a supporter of the Kentucky Derby, a local Louisvillian, a fan of horseracing, and part of the 99%; I am sad to see that some of my favorite things are clashing with one another. After reading all of the headlines, what struck me as odd is that (for once) a charity and anti-poverty group, like Occupy Louisville, was not being welcomed in association with the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby is already an Occupy movement?

Kentucky has more rural poverty than most states in America and it makes sense that those aware of their statistics might want to organize for change. After all, several of the nine "Parties with Purpose" listed on the KentuckyDerby.com website are luxury fundraisers focused on poverty reduction. Churchill Downs is also a year-round supporter of the grass roots organization in their neighborhood called The Lord's Kitchen.

Regardless, Occupy Louisville is being told by the city that they are not allowed to continue occupation of a park to draw awareness to their cause during the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

Occupy Louisville on the 2012 Kentucky Derby

Less than three miles from Churchill Downs, most of the tourists attending the 2012 Kentucky Derby will be staying in hotels near the former Occupy Louisville #SleepfulProtest location. On Twitter, @OzzExonar feels that this is a 1% versus the 99% situation by stating, "#Louisville mayor moves to evict #OccupyLouisville in time for the 1% coming for the Kentucky Derby."

Since there were few quotes published online referencing Occupy Louisville in association with the Kentucky Derby, I went to their Facebook page and liked it to ask for their opinions. Unfortunately, most of the members of Occupy Louisville that I spoke with two weeks before the Kentucky Derby declined to comment.

Others were too busy to return my messages due to organizing protests against Neo-Nazi ideas at the Kentucky state capitol in Frankfort. An additional upcoming distraction for some Occupy Louisville affiliates is protesting the arrival of Holocaust denier, David Irving, on May 4.

A united 2013 Kentucky Derby

In the future, I would like to see the Kentucky Derby push an olive branch with Occupy Louisville that the city could not figure out in 2012. By welcoming charity groups that are focused on poverty prevention, like Occupy Louisville, the Kentucky Derby will continue to prove that this event is not just for those sports lovers that can afford luxury -- but a red carpet event that seeks to include all Kentuckians.

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Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing , she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.

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