Black, white and red are at the most notable and primary colors used for significance. Red has been used to signify the blood that binds a group of individuals together and it is the blood shed during war and conflicts in burial grounds and rituals from as far back as 9000 B.C. White is related to semen and milk, both essential to life, and growth. Contrasted with black which is associated with excretion, in addition to fertile earth, and "unity of widest recognized group sharing same life values." Noted from page 25 of one of my favorite books: Colouring the Past Edited by Andrew Jones and Gavin MacGregor. These colors are more significant than ever today.
I first started to follow Occupy wall Street when two separate friends on Facebook posted the same disturbing YouTube clip of Anthony Bologna macing young girls in a peaceful protest in Union Square on Saturday September 24, 2011. I followed that week the media's response, or lack thereof of what was really going on. The following Saturday my dear friend and I decided it was a nice enough day to walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Sunday morning I woke up and opened up the New York Times to see that not one hour after we cleared the Manhattan side of the bridge were hundreds of protesters who walked on the bridge to only become trapped and arrested. I read as many news articles as I could about the event and started to follow #OccupyWallStreet on Twitter.
Due to my proximity to this history in the making, I had to see first hand what was really happening and meet some of the people making it happen. Monday, October 3, after work, headed downtown with a bag of hats I had designed and made, it was cold, and the occupiers had posted about needing donations for the cold and wet days ahead. I thought this was the least I could do to support them. What I experienced there was overwhelming and profound; organized areas of media, medical supplies, comfort areas, and a library. All people were able to contribute in anyway they saw fit, giving each other a sense of belonging, and empowerment. I found a girl who was just perfect for one hat I made a while back that was very much an experiment, but it was a lot of fun, and she was working in the comfort area. I had a nice discussion with a young man, who I saw later in videos on you tube. I mentioned that wanted to contribute more, but din't know how and it was then that I put my name on a list to be called on for showers, should one want or need. I was ready to head home and I realized I couldn't find my metro card, and as I searched for it in my many pockets, the young man running the comfort area genuinely asked if I had enough money to cover my ride home. If I hadn't, he would have given me what I needed, I would have been taken care of. What a concept; if I can't buy what I need, it will be provide for me. Luckily I found my metro card, that has unlimited rides thanks to transit-check.
Three days later after many long days at work, I went down again, this time with the same friend I'd walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with on Saturday. The amount of people in the park had quadrupled in my estimation. General Assembly was in session, food, comfort and medical areas were fully stocked. The library was packed with books, and is where anyone could pick up a free copy of The Occupied Wall Street paper published in Spanish and English. Except they were out of the papers in English, and I didn't think to take on in Spanish. It was a colder night than Monday, but in the park was at least 10 degrees warmer, but it just might have been the friendliness of the people and made me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Saturday morning I received a phone call from someone down in the park confirming if my offer was still available for a shower, and said that he would see who wanted a shower, hoping for Sunday, and that worked for me. I was planning on heading down to the park again anyway, and now thought it might be a good idea to meet first the person, or persons I'd just agreed to lend my shower to. On the subway to OWS, I ran into a couple who I helped to get out at the correct station, the man was from Georgia, the country, and the young woman, from Russia. I asked them their opinion of the protests and they thought they were great, the man from Georgia said he thought American's were dead and like robots, not ever realizing or caring about the corruption happening all around us that everyone else (non-Americans) can see, but we are somehow too in it to notice or care.
One this third visit, not doubt due to the beautiful unseasonable weather and long weekend-for some, made the amount of people in the park even greater that I saw on Thursday night. I was stunned. I stood in line where for a suggested donation of $10 anyone could get a t-shirt printed, while you wait, with one of three logos. If you had not thought to bring a t-shirt of your own, one could either grab one from the comfort area, or use one of the available white fruit of the loom t-shirts. I opted for a new one, and waited for my preferred graphic.
I am part of this 99% that feels frustrated by the courpt system that I feel like has been playing us like marrinets for years. I am happy to know that many are no longer metaphorically asleep nor are we robots. I also feel that I am a fraction of the 99% who actually have a job, and I LOVE my job. I have my job soley because I choose to invest in myself, and borrow money for school that would buy me a mansion in my home town of Marcellus, NY. I support OWS because I am taxed 30% on my salary, of my take home money, I then give almost 30% more back to the government at 8% interest in the form of a school loan, more than $700 of which is interest only, and is no longer a tax deduction for me at the end of the year. This is not right. Education is expensive, I knew that going in, but paying it back was not made clear to me by anyone, until my tax guy said I made too much money. While I am extremely grateful for my job that provides me enough income to get by, I find it difficult to see that even five years down the line I will be much better off, or ever be able to purchase my own home. My education was and is invaluable to me, as without it this blog and the content would never have reached the world- nor would I have my dream job. While the government says we must have better education to have better jobs and lives now feels a little hypocritical of them to say if they keep us in lower middle class situations no longer able to achieve the American Dream.
The other reason I support Occupy Wall Street is I am 100% against Gas Fracking. I do not think it is even a short term fix to a long term problem. While the government touts that it is "Natural Gas" the process that is needed to go through in corder to get it is completely toxic, and therefor the end result is completely toxic. It is no more "Natural" than Corn Syrup. This is not a short-term fix because it will essentially ruin people properties and effect the water systems, effecting ALL parts of the eco system almost immediately.
On Sunday, October 9, I went down again, this time to pick up four protesters who needed a shower. I took two young men of about twenty-one and two men I guess to be in the their mid-forties who seem to have fallen on extremely hard times back to my studio apartment in Brooklyn. While one showered, the others sat on news papers- their cloths were too dirty for my rug or furniture and they asked each other how they had all found themselves for nights on end at the park. The two younger didn't really seem to know, they seemed a little lost and this was something they could hold one to, something tangible, and something positive that they could give back to. One of the older men had a job, but was evicted from his apartment just the Wednesday night prior, and it was not from him not paying his rent, it was just something about a shady real estate deal. The main organizer for the showers was a man from Los Angeles who after riding the high life in LA with a model and actress wife was in two bad motorcycle accidents and then identity theft which has left him with nothing but the bag he brought to change into clean clothes. We war all bound together for a short time in an effort to help each other out. There was a general consensus that everyone felt better about being part of a great good for everyone.
I started to google different news clips about the event of which they were a part of and their excitement for the event only grew and seems almost more anxious to get back down to the park. The protesters I harbored sniffled a bit and I made Yogi Echinacea tea for them. The tea bags offering sound thoughts and advice that couldn't be more on point with what's happening; (Red) Trust creates peace. (White) Live for each other. (Black) Live in your strength.
This post was intended to be posted sometimes last week, but I had a preverbal bump in the road of life and spend twenty-four hours in the hospital, and am still on the road to what I' hoping for is a very quick recovery.