Occupy Wall Street Protest and Demonstrations. Zuccotti Park. Financial District, New York City.
I haven’t been able to go and check out Occupy Wall Street these past few weeks since I tore a ligament in my knee in an accident and have been fairly immobile up until a few days ago. Yesterday, I decided to hobble from the Lower East Side to Zuccotti Park to check out the protest area firsthand. The walk normally only takes twenty minutes. However, last night it took me around three hours! I had to stop many times to rest my knee. However, it was definitely worth it.
By the time I got to the park, the sun was setting. The mood was peaceful, joyous and things seemed organized. There is so much debate over these protests even among my acquaintances. I think it’s important for people to realize that there is a message (perhaps it is better to say there are a variety of messages that seem to fall under an umbrella of thoughts) and that the crowd is fairly diverse. There were unions there, many people saying thank you to the police who stood guard around the perimeter and quite a few people who were interested in cerebral conversation. There were a few music circles, a place for people to go to speak their mind using human microphones (a process where a person speaks and the crowd repeats the lines so all can hear), many people creating and holding signs and a generally upbeat feeling that permeated the huge crowds in the park. To be honest, even I didn’t fully understand what it was like until I experienced it. I had many preconceived notions about it but I was wrong.
Ten years ago, I read a book that changed my perspective greatly. It was called No Logo by author Naomi Klein. I wondered back then why more of the population wasn’t actively protesting the issues brought up in this book but I have realized over the years that sometimes things take time and that democracy can be messy. The author Naomi Klein visited Occupy Wall Street a few days ago and wrote one of the best statements I have read about it so far here: Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now. One excellent part of her statement that resonated with me after visiting the protest last night is:
"That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says, “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement."
These are only a few photos I took last night. I have the rest in albums in several places. You can view the rest here at Flickr:
Alternately, you can view the entire photo-set at my Google Plus here: Occupy Wall Street - Zuccotti Park - Google Plus