On March 17th, 2012, Occupy Wall Street was celebrating its six-month anniversary and Cecily McMillan was 23 years old. McMillan is an activist who was participating in Occupy, but on this day she was not there to protest. She planned to meet up with some friends at the corner of the park so they could head to a nearby pub together, and like all good college students on St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps drink some green beer. Two years later she now faces 7 years in prison. As you read this, Cecily is behind bars on Riker’s Island awaiting sentencing. How did this happen you may ask yourself. Her graduate advisor asks the same question.
Cecily’s graduate advisor, Maurice Isserman is a professor of history at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY. These are excerpts from posts professor Isserman made recently on the emag “Dissent”
“On Saturday, May 3, my son and I took Cecily McMillan to lunch. Cecily, as is now widely known, is an Occupy Wall Street activist and the defendant for the past month in a criminal trial for allegedly assaulting a New York City police officer; she is also, as I noted in a previous post at Dissent http://www.dissentmagazine.org/issue/spring-2014-2 a graduate student at the New School and my thesis advisee.
I have known Cecily for nearly three years. I met her when I was invited to speak at a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) youth section gathering in the Catskills in the summer of 2011. Cecily, then twenty-two years old, was a recent college graduate (Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin) and a veteran of the previous winter’s Madison, Wisconsin protests against Governor Scott Walker’s anti-labor policies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_Uprising
Cecily went off to New York that August to begin her graduate studies at the New School. Cecily and I crossed paths again at other DSA gatherings. I was pleased when she asked me to supervise her master’s thesis this spring (even though I don’t teach at the New School http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_School). Her topic reflects her deep interest in and personal commitment to the politics of nonviolent direct action. I have no doubt about the sincerity of her convictions on that score.
We talked about her trial and agreed that after her lawyer’s masterful summation of the case the day before, she was almost certain to be acquitted. The worst outcome she faced when the case went to the jury on Monday, May 5, we thought, was a hung jury.
The next day, May 5, after deliberating for less than three hours, the jury found Cecily guilty, and the judge remanded her to Riker’s Island to await sentencing on Monday May 19th .
How I got to be this old and yet remain so stupid is a question for another day.
How Cecily, twenty-five years old and facing the prospect of spending the next seven years in prison, was convicted on the basis of the flimsy case presented by the DA’s office is a more important question.”
Want to know how to help, but don’t know how?
First and foremost, show up! Cecily is in court once again on Monday May 19th for sentencing. This will be her first trip out of Riker’s since being remanded, and we know she would love to see all of your faces filling up the courtroom.
Manhattan Criminal Court Building 100 Centre St, New York City, NY 10013
Tips for writing to Cecily http://justiceforcecily.com/support/write-to-cecily/
Read the entire article here: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-disturbing-verdict-against-cecily-mcmillan