Thursday, November 10, 2011

May Josh Rest In Peace

Earlier today - Thursday, November 10, 2011, one of the members of the Burlington encampment tragically died, apparently taking his own life.
This statement below has been approved by the Occupy Vermont General Assembly tonight:

Today, November 10th at 2pm, Josh, a valued member of Occupy Burlington and the houseless community, took his own life at the encampment. We want to take this moment to offer our thoughts and condolences to Josh's family, and to the members of the Occupy community who got to know Josh over the last two weeks.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the encampment are with his friends and family. We appreciate the support we have received from the Burlington community, the country, and the world. We ask for everyone’s continued support and solidarity as we deal with this tragedy.

From the first day of the encampment, we have welcomed all members of the community by providing anyone in need with food, shelter, and social support. Despite our best efforts to provide care and support to all members of the community, occupations are not equipped with the infrastructure and resources needed to care for the most vulnerable members of our community. The lack of resources to care for those in need was brought to the attention of Burlington city leaders. Unfortunately, our plea for assistance was not heeded in time to help Josh.

This tragedy draws attention to the gross inequalities within our system. We mourn the loss of a great friend tonight, while discovering an ever-deeper resolve to stand with our most vulnerable citizens. The failure to provide citizens with adequate and accessible physical and mental healthcare is one of the many issues this movement is fighting for.

Again, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone reeling from this loss and we deeply appreciate everyone who has offered support, compassion, and solidarity. It is our hope that this tragedy will serve as a rallying cry for occupations around the country to continue the fight for system change.

In Solidarity,
Occupy Burlington

There's help for people that are having a mental health crisis, but you won't find it in a tent at a protest. You'll find it at Fletcher Allen up the street, for free online at , or at 1-800-273-8255. The resources are there, in Vermont perhaps more than most states. 
For those that were with him or are affected by his loss, and may be interested in counseling, check out for more information and local resources.

There will be a memorial and candle light vigil at the north side of City Hall Park on Friday beginning at 5:00 p.m. to commemorate Josh, a veteran and committed member of the occupation.
May Josh rest in peace and rise in glory.
May God give comfort, consolation, and the peace that passes understanding to all who love Josh.

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