In late October, 2011, a month into Occupy Wall Street’s takeover of Zuccotti Park in New York City’s financial district, a new movement erupts amidst the excitement and turmoil with police––Parents of Occupy Wall Street. Started by Kirby Desmarais, a gutsy and resourceful 26-year-old mom and independent music manager, the group is meant to be an outlet for families to get more involved in Occupy Wall Street. In fact, Kirby organizes a “family sleepover” in Zuccotti Park, which draws over 500 kids and parents with sleeping bags in tow, ready for a night of protesting.
Among the families joining Kirby’s group are Rob and Myra Territo, an inner-city schoolteacher and real estate agent from New Jersey. As veteran activists, the Territos see Parents of Occupy Wall Street as an opportunity to show their 5-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter what it means to speak out against injustice. Joining them are Rivka and Bruce Little, a biracial couple raising their 6- and 13-year-old daughters in the Jewish faith. The Littles protest due to concern for their girls’ safety from the controversial “stop and frisk” policies that dominate their East Harlem neighborhood. Rounding out the group is Mark Hamilton, a dad slash indie rocker, who is compelled to bring his young daughter Scarlett out to Occupy. Energized, the group is ready to give voice to the others like them amongst the 99%—families struggling across the country.
However, as the Occupy Wall Street movement falls apart and the NYPD becomes increasingly violent toward protesters, Kirby and her group struggle with their mission. After a clash with police goes viral online, the parents are accused of using their children as “human shields.” And a new federal law threatens to treat the protesting parents like terrorists.
Can this group overcome the many challenges they face and make a difference? Will they get arrested and their kids taken away? The end of the film will find Kirby being driven away in the back of a police car, but for reasons that will surprise you.