I Occupied Wall Street

“We’re going to NYC, so be comfortable.”

An afternoon to meet for a quick bite and thoughtful conversations…in New York City?  Little did I know that I was going to Liberty Square Park, where the Occupy protests began.

We’ve all heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests and various others around the world. I’ve heard about it, of course, read a few things here and there, and watched some coverage….but I just wasn’t interested. Maybe I was a little apathetic. To me, it seemed like a bunch of folks (specifically white, educated upper-middle class people) making a lot of noise about the recession, unemployment and corporate greed. I didn’t see faces like mine represented on CNN, and I thought to myself “Marginalized groups and the working poor have dealt with issues like high employment for generations, and it’s accepted as status quo.” I wasn’t excited to go to OWS, but I was curious to see what it was about.

I get to Liberty Square, and my first thought is…interesting. There are no leaders, no protests, nobody shouting angrily, no podium. As my friend and I walked through the park, I noticed that the OWS protestors had formed a sustainable community of sorts-they had their own makeshift kitchen, clothing boxes, Red Cross…almost like a city inside the park. I saw many tables (called working groups) with various agendas–improving education, Native American, civil and gay rights were just a few that I saw. Anyone who wanted a platform to voice their issues had the forum to do it.  Although there were people of various races and agendas represented, they had one goal-equality and justice.

As I learned, OWS isn’t a typical let’s-march-to-city-hall protest. It’s based on a horizontal movement, where there are no leaders and true democracy is practiced. Every evening, there is a General Assembly (GA) meeting in which the people from the working groups can voice their concerns and suggestions, and vote upon them. Every member’s voice was just as important as the next. I didn’t stay to witness a GA meeting, but I would’ve loved to see democracy in its pure form.

The demographics were interesting as well. Yes, there were a lot of college students and graduates, and some stereotypical “hippies”, but I also saw Wall Street execs, lawyers, teachers, and many others who were tired of the political and financial power that the elite have in this country, and decided to throw back the lies of the “American Dream” in Wall Street’s face. The fall of Lehman Brothers, foreclosures, unemployment, healthcare-these issues affect us ALL in varying degrees, and there are policymakers who run this country without our futures in mind. It was then that I realized that OWS was about me, too.

After my initial skepticism with OWS, it was heartening to see people taking action and initiating change on a large-scale. Do I believe that OWS is going to produce real, foreseeable change? Perhaps. There have been historic movements that were faced with skepticism at first, and yet, have changed the course of American thought and history. And, if OWS loses steam without any resolution, it shows me that people can unite nonviolently to stir up the waters and bring national and international attention on important issues. My inner optimist is still looking forward to the democracy the Declaration of Independence was founded upon, where “We The People” means everyone, and not just the folks who have the most money and power to throw around.

*A special thank you to my friend who took me to Occupy Wall Street. You’re a great friend and confidant who have enriched my life more than you know, and hopefully I have done the same.

For more information on OWS, click here

 

Copyright of Kim Fraczek

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Comments
4 Responses to “I Occupied Wall Street”
  1. sunnydelyte21 says:

    My brother is one of the protestor in my city, he speaks a lot about it and like you I was uninterested. So far my opinion hasn’t changed…but that do to lack of knowledge or time in energy to figure out what it is about.

    After reading this is makes me want to know more. Also, I love the letters…lmao. Real Talk for someone more ignorant than me…but I shall not remain any longer.

    • bellacoils says:

      Hey Sunnydelyte21!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate it :)!
      Yup, I was uninterested at first, even after watching some of the coverage. Just didn’t think that OWS had anything to do with my life. And that’s why I’m glad I went, even after my initial disdain. It’s one thing to watch it on CNN, and another to go and see what it’s really about…Since that day I’ve been keeping up with it and I sincerely hope that OWS produces real change.
      I love the letters too! Loved her reply! I was like “Ooop…she told him!” lmaooo
      I’m curious to what city your brother’s protesting in and how it’s going? I know that OWS is at the 2 month mark and still going strong..

      • sunnydelyte21 says:

        We live in New Jersey….in Trenton…from what I know their is peace and quite…but they have had a lot of people camped our and broadcasting daily on youtube.

      • bellacoils says:

        Really? I’m from Jersey too!!! I live up north though…I’m going to youtube Occupy Trenton and see what’s going on…

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