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After Occupy Wall Street

2 weeks ago I traveled from Harlem to the Financial district to visit the folks at OWS. It was a clear, blustery, sunshiny day and I was full of curiosity. I walked down Broadway to Liberty Street into a small area called Zuccotti Park renamed by the movement to Liberty Park.

Now, the Occupy Wall Street Encampment was torn down at lam by the NYC police by order of Mayor Bloomberg on Tuesday, November l5th, 2011 after being there for 2 months. Now the movement is in the streets everywhere. But I wanted to give you my experience of visiting the encampment for my first time 2 weeks ago.

Information is already up on Wikipedia about OWS. And here is some of what it says :
“is an ongoing series of demonstrations in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district which began on September 17, 2011. Initiated by Canadian activist group Adbusters, the participants are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, corruption and influence over government—particularly from the financial services sector—as well as lobbyists and the jobless rate. The use of the slogan, “We are the 99%”, refers to the difference in wealth and income growth in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population.”

Again, I had to see it for myself. I met people of all different ages who had come to live at OWS from Michigan, Minnesota and of course NYC. The tent city is very earthy considering they are living in such close quarters for such a long period of time. There is also an information tent, library tent, volunteer info, etc. People there have varying opinions on everything, but the one main agreement is on corporate greed taking over our entire
economy. It’s not just white folks. It’s people of all cultures, religions, economic backgrounds.

One New Yorker has been down there for one week. He is a writer and a therapist and is totally delighted to be working down at OWS. He had very strong and judgmental opinions regarding students paying back their loans. He was telling me that one gal owed $l00,000 in student loans and didn’t know how she was going to pay it back, and the other gal was from Texas and said she had paid back her $l00,000 student loans by stripping. This guy didn’t approve of stripping to pay back her loans, but I said to him “I had to pay back $l00,000 in loans, and if that option had been open to me “I would have done it.” He didn’t seem too pleased, but that was okay because we were having a dialogue and I told him it was okay that we didn’t agree.

It took me by surprise that OWS is leaderless. I’m not used to that and it made me uncomfortable. Coming from past demonstrations there always was a leader or a leader of a movement that I have worked with. So this felt very strange to me. Supposedly they are using the revolutionary Arab Spring occupation tactics to achieve our ends and are encouraging the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.

This is what they say : “OWS is an experiment in direct democracy, with the General Assembly (GA) being our current model of decision making. The GA is a gathering of people committed to making decisions based upon a collective agreement or “consensus.” There is no single leader or governing body of the GA–we struggle to ensure that everyone’s voice is equal. Anyone is free to propose an idea or express an opinion as part of the GA. The GA meets everyday at 7pm in Liberty Park.”

So if you believe in this movement like I do, here’s things you can do: you can volunteer, occupy-bring food, clothing, spread the word, share flyers (, connect on Twitter: #occupywallstreet#occupytogether, Facebook: OccupyWallSt., follow the occupation at, donate at

As I said, this was my first visit and I am doing what I can to demonstrate and wakeup Congress. If nothing else I have learned while hanging out on this planet not to expect change unless you begin with you. Forget about depending upon our government, our politicians. Don’t wait for someone else to take care of you because it ain’t gonna happen. You just need to find like minded folks to join and support one another together for the common good to tell or yell to our politicans and government, we need to be heard, otherwise you ain’t going to get re-elected.

My African American friend shared with me that she learned a great deal after 9/11. She used to feel that she and her community should be taken care of by the politicians, president, people in power and she realized after the event that the only way to get things done is get out there and take care of yourself and don’t be polite about it. Hey, when there are no jobs, mouths to feed, cuts in social security, who’s gonna be polite and you gotta get out and fight.

As for me, I feel you have got to begin somewhere and we have been screwed over so much, that this is the first step towards an amazing change in our country.. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine, but get out there and find out things for yourself. Get involved and make some noise.

If you are one of the fortunate ones that still has a job, or own your own business, support the ones who don’t to find a way to make their lives more manageable. And if you know of some elderly that are having a most difficult time financially, give them a helping hand in whatever way you can. Remember it’s not only about you. We’re all in this mess together.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 13th, 2011 at 7:28 am and is filed under Clients, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “After Occupy Wall Street”

  1. Stephanie Potter Says:

    Hi Sherri,
    I’m praying that this spirit lives on, and moves onward. The leaderless exercise is interesting to me because the whole idea of patriarchal,hierarchical, linear, power and control is being refreshed <3 I'm sorta taking a thought break, so I'll stop there. Thanks for the article!

  2. Chris Donnelly Says:

    Wonderful post Sherri. I love your take on this. I think the protests have been extremely successful. Change to social structures, countries’ economies and financial systems can’t happen overnight. For the last month, people all over the world have, at very least, been forced to think about the growing gap between rich and poor – something that many people (at least in Canada) have avoided talking about. The movement has created an awareness that wasn’t there before. If we could all adopt your “we’re all in this together” attitude, we would be out of this mess in a heartbeat! Great post.

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