Roslindale Neighbors: Rozzie ‘radical’ fights Occupy arrest

October 26, 2012
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Roslindale resident Allison Nevitt is one of 30 people still fighting her charges from her arrest last year at Occupy Boston.

Nevitt is a member of JP’s Hope Central Church, which was heavily involved in the Occupy movement. She still doesn’t know when her court date on a trespassing charge will be.

“I want my day in court. I don’t believe it’s possible for me to be trespassing on public land when I am there to exercise my First Amendment rights. We need to stand up to this kind of repression,” she told the Gazette this week.

Nevitt calls herself a “radical,” not a radical. She uses the quotation marks to separate what she considers radical from what she feels the government does.

“In the U.S., it is radical to say, ‘Our American lifestyle is only achieved by causing millions of people elsewhere to suffer.’ It is radical to say, ‘No, you don’t deserve wealth if people are starving; and particularly not if any aspect of your life was achieved by furthering the suffering of others’…I am ‘radical’ for asking people to look at what capitalism really is,” she said

An atheist who attends church, an activist who was involved in both New York and Boston Occupy encampments, a blogger at the progressive website “Daily Kos,” and an avid knitter, Nevitt is very much still politically active, even though she is no longer associated with any organizations using the “Occupy” moniker.

“I am pursuing actions in different arenas, many of which I am doing with people whom I became connected to via Occupy,” she explained. “There are hundreds of thousands of us, here in the U.S., who are now connected, much like the trees in a forest are connected via underground networks of mushroom and fungi. On the surface we make look separated, but there is a vast amount of communication and mutual nurturing going on. The actions of the fall 2011 were simply a burst of spores.”

Nevitt’s path to Occupy was “multi-pronged and part of a lifetime of becoming more and more ‘radical’,” she said. After the Green Party uprising in Iran in 2009, she followed the Arab Spring in 2010 closely, live-blogging the news at “Daily Kos.” She and her collaborators founded a project called “Witnessing Revolution,” which relays the writings, images and videos of people from within those countries.

“We are not imposing our political ideas or judgments, but simply hearing from them and bearing witness as a way of connecting people from around the world,” she said. “We made contacts within every country and checked in with hundreds of sources to bring their stories out to the world. I was doing this intensely up until Occupy emerged.”

In September 2011, Nevitt saw a cause come to her doorstep.

“There is a direct connection. Saddam Hussein was groomed and funded by us. We give the Egyptian military $1 billion per year. The money connections between dictators and private monied interests in the U.S. are unfathomably strong. So, when the call to protest the corruption of the bankers here was made, it was a natural for me to stand up for that,” Nevitt said.

She was at New York’s Occupy Wall Street encampment while Occupy Boston took over Dewey Square. After she returned to Boston, she became a frequent visitor—she couldn’t stay at the camp due to health reasons—and helped run the General Assemblies, where major decisions were made. She was arrested when the camp was forcibly evacuated in December.

She sees a link between all this and her regular attendance at Hope Central Church at 85 Seaverns Ave. in JP. Even though she doesn’t believe in institutionalized spirituality nor in a god, she calls herself a “seeker of truth.”

“I love the sense of mystery and ineffability of spirituality. I do enjoy being a part of a community of people who are seeking, too, even if they are seeking through a different lens. Hope [Church] has been very welcoming to me in that aspect,” she said.

Singing at the church “is often my offering to the community while everyone else is taking communion. There is a saying that singing is praying twice. I do feel very full of a wonderful spirit when I sing, so I find it very fulfilling,” she said.

Nevitt also teaches knitting at JP Knit & Stitch at 461 Centre St. in JP. A 30-year knitter, Nevitt is also a former yarn shop owner. She used to own Circles, a yarn shop on Amory Street in JP, which closed a few years ago.

“The owners of JP Knit & Stitch had been my customers. When they decided they wanted to open a store, they asked if I would be open to teaching there and I said yes,” she said.

Nevitt loves living in Rozzie, she said. She left JP, like many, after prices climbed too high, but she’s not looking back.

“We didn’t want to be a slave to an outlandish mortgage… There’s been a renaissance [since 1996, when she moved in]. I love the diversity here,” she said. “Today, it feels like all the people who gave JP the flavor that it once had have moved to Rozzie, quietly. We have the consciousness without any pretensions.”