PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Averaging 60 hardy souls, this campsite remains dug in on the Mellon Green.

In some ways the protesters of Occupy Pittsburgh and the pilgrim fathers of that first Thanksgiving 390 years ago are not so very different. Certainly, they share a freedom of expression.

“They came for religious freedom – and for economic freedom because they were repressed basically,” Philip Bittenbender said.

Bittenbender, a medical librarian from Point Breeze, was showing his mom where he’s camped out to make a point.

“A new beginning, a transforming, is what I think is going on here,” he said.

It’s a mixed crowd of veterans, the homeless, students and others.

“A lot of us are college educated – most of us are employed.”

Sympathizers from all over the city and suburbs have been dropping by here all day with an endless stream of donations.

The utility workers union stocked the kitchen this Thanksgiving.

And the Moreno family from Upper St. Clair brought mac & cheese, and lasagna. Their son is with Occupy Portland.

“I just can’t believe how we can bail out the world and we can’t bail out our own people,” Vennie Moreno said.

A family from the West End brought plates from their own table.

“Grateful to have our food but to share it with other people as well,” Toni Jessie said.

Marcia and Stan Landy of Squirrel Hill donated a warm jacket and oatmeal raisin cookies.

“I’m very sympathetic to the people here who feel they haven’t gotten a fair share,” Marcia said.

Jimmy Blue Thunder, a Lenape, brought a Native American blessing to the gathering. There are new battles to fight since that first Thanksgiving.

“I’m against the fact that these big corporations that we stand in the midst of control our government, our healthcare, our food,” he said.

And there’s Samey Lee, a 19-year-old Point Park University student who simply believes.

“I’ve kind of found a calling to participate with, I guess, changing the world,” he said.

It’s food for thought this Thanksgiving Day.


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