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Luca Clemente

VIDEO:  "From Tent City to Tiny House Village"

In the Fall of 2011, the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park inspired activists around the country to set up their own encampments in solidarity. As in other cities, it wasn’t long before the Occupy camp in Madison, Wisconsin attracted waves of homeless people, drawn in by the camp’s resources. The strain sparked a civil war between the political activist “housies” and the homeless “crashers,” which led to a mass exodus of activists. Luca Clemente is one of the dozen or so who remained, believing the clash of cultures provided a unique opportunity to abandon political preconceptions and forge a powerful new grassroots alliance. When the city shut down the Occupy camp, everyone naturally assumed Occupy Madison would disband. But, in fact, this is where the real story begins. Through a series of additional protest encampments and countless meetings with city officials, the group was finally green-lighted to conduct an experiment in which homeless people build their own homes. The result was OM Village – a residential community comprising tiny houses, a workshop, flower and vegetable gardens, and beehives. The tiny homes experiment has caught the attention of communities all over the world struggling with the same problems. 
Luca is a PhD candidate in endocrinology at the University of Wisconsin. While medical research is his specialty, social justice is his passion. “As people drop down a rung on the social ladder, ever increasing numbers fall off that last rung into homelessness,” he says. “If the Occupy Movement showed us anything, it’s that an equitable and sustainable world can only be created by direct action.”

Listen to ALL of the 2015 Talks & Performances

Luca Clemente: "From tent city to tiny house village"

COL Scott St. Sauver: "A MN approach to helping veterans heal"

Benjamin Thwaits: "Focusing a lens on human potential"

Sara Sherman: "Horses see our armor"

Mike Link and Kate Crowley: "Full Circle: Hiking around Lake Superior" 

Jason Edens: "A long-term solution to fuel poverty"

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson: "Empathy and the power of virtual communities"

Arlene Jones: "Who's at your table?"

Corey Medina: "Using blues to shed light"

Tane Danger: "Improv, wicked problems, and the platypus"

Marie Johnson: "Listening to the (her) heart"

Matthew Fluharty: "Changing the face of rural"

Rick McLean: "Storytelling through song"

Jessica Willits: "Reaching out in our schools"