Occupy Wall Street in New York City
So Wednesday of this week, my friend and I boarded a Megabus, and traveled to NYC for the day, just to play "hooky", enjoy a change of scenery, and some beverages and food, and do some photography.
I had no idea that thousands of discontent Americans had been organizing a massive protest in New York, near the Stock Exchange on Wall Street, to air their complaints, and make it known that there are in fact, citizens of this country who are motivated and concerned enough about their uncertain future, to go out and try to do something about it, though they seem unsure of how to do this. They also have such a variety of miseries and fears, that their protest is somewhat unfocused, and confusing to most. I think this lack of clarity is perhaps partially to blame for the complete lack of big media coverage of this amazing event, which has been going on for a week now.
While wandering down Broadway, into the financial district, looking for artistic opportunities to go snappity snap snap with our cameras, we encountered an encampment in Liberty Square, of several hundred protesters brandishing signs with a variety of messages. They refer to themselves as "The 99%". There have been there since September 17th and say they will stay for two months, though they don't even have tents to camp in, because the city will not allow it. They are asking for change. They are having drum circles, and organizing marches, and chanting, and and making more signs with more messages, about a variety of issues that trouble them. One man was even sitting among the carnival-esque display, just meditating, while all this noise and activity swirled around him.
Most of their concerns are centered around the rapidly growing disparity between the rich and the poor in America today. This is real and very frightening to many. Many who are not in the 1% of people here, who apparently own most of the wealth in this country, feel out of control and helpless. They don't have enough money. They want to improve their situation in life, and they try very hard, and yet they see their life becoming more difficult with each passing year. Many who go to college are then unable to pay off their student debts after graduating. Many do not have health insurance. Many are working full time jobs and still struggling to feed their families, while others don't have jobs at all because they can't seem to find one. They refuse to lose hope, yet they are terrified of what will become of them.
And so, they have organized a peaceful protest, which they have named "Occupy Wall Street" in an attempt to gain visibility and help, for their problems.
I find it interesting and discouraging that this huge event is taking place and almost no one knows about it, outside the people who happen to see it first hand for one reason or another. I am fascinated and also encouraged however, by what I have stumbled upon.
Photo credits: Cmoulton.