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Occupy Wall Street Protesters Reflect US Diversity

  • Arash Azzizzada

Zuccotti Park, located in downtown New York City, is usually where bankers and traders from Wall Street would enjoy a quiet lunch. Recently, though, it has been taken over by people who are protesting - among other things -- what those bankers stand for.

Their demands are vague but their grievances are many. The new inhabitants of Zuccotti Park share a common emotion: they are angry with the status quo in America.

“People are pissed off and a lot of reasons I've heard today they have a right to be pissed off. People are working all their lives and the political and economic system is pretty much setting them up to fail,” said protestor Shaun Collins.

Ron Caldwell is also angry. “Workers, essentially, are getting the raw end of the stick. .. the fact that we have not regulated Wall Street when they brought this recession on us,” he said.

As is Sarah Quinn, who is 28-years old and works in Brooklyn. “And a lot of people spent too much time not saying anything. So we have to bring that back. And that is what I want to accomplish here,” Quinn said.

They have come from all over the country for a variety of reasons.

The Occupy Wall Street movement’s rallying cry is that 1% of the population controls more than 40% of the wealth, leaving the 99% percent to split the rest.

“Economic justice and economic democracy are real issues in an advanced capitalist democracy. I think this is a conversation that needs to be had, how do we make society more democratic?,” said protester Janie Rinaldie.

“But I’m still living hand to mouth. And that is another issue I have, where if I am this “successful”, then what is going on with people that are, you know, that are not as well off as I am,” said Quinn.

The occupation of Wall Street has now turned into a community. There is a kitchen. There is a library. They have schools. They have music.

And they say they are not going away.

But change will be very hard to define until the participants in “Occupy Wall Street” can voice their goals. And at this moment, their message is as diverse as the people who are taking part.