Q: Why don’t they just go find a job?
A: If you are always busy looking for work and working, you won’t be able to devote your time and energy to the struggle. You will always be struggling to get by. You will never have a better future. Young people are right to devote their time and energy to the struggle so that they can have a better future.
Q: Why don’t they go to the homeless shelters?
A: If people stay in homeless shelters, not many people will know about their problems. And their problems will never be solved.
Q: Occupy Wall Street put protesters in harm’s way because protesters are being beaten up by police at Occupy Wall Street protests. Also, protesters can be arrested and records of multiple arrests will hurt protesters in the future. Why should people participate in Occupy Wall Street protests and get themselves hurt and risk their future also?
A: It is up to the police, not Occupy Wall Street, whether protesters get beaten up and arrested or not. What we have to do is to try to stop the police from beating and arresting people for protesting, not to stop protesting. The government should try to listen to protesters’ concerns rather than trying to silence them. If a government encourages people to try to beat each other out to make it and makes those who can not make it disappear, it is practicing social Darwinism, not democracy.
Q: Is Occupy Wall Street encouraging people to go homeless?
A: Occupy Wall Street has been trying their best to help homeless people find a place. You can go to nycga.net to find housing information (http://housing.nycga.net/current-housing/) any time. Food and housing are the two things that OWS have devoted more of their time and energy to, so much so that they were suspected of turning into a charity at one point.
Q: Have Occupy Wall Street protesters been brainwashed, manipulated, blackmailed, or are they too young to make their own judgement?
A: Protesters are not underage children who will do anything you ask them to do. They are not brainwashed, manipulated, or blackmailed, either. They choose to participate in the protests. Nobody at Occupy Wall Street that I know of has been manipulated or blackmailed into participating. It is totally up to every individual what they participate in and when. The reason why protesters are mostly young people is that older people have families and so can not risk too much. Younger people often do not have to worry about their families and so can risk more.
Q: Is Occupy Wall Street using minority to further majority’s agenda?
A: Most protesters at Occupy Wall Street are not minority. And Occupy Wall Street’s agenda is not for majority and against minority. Just because a majority is fighting for it does not mean that it is against minority.
Q: Why are the masses not joining Occupy Wall Street?
A: Some don’t understand the movement. Some have been misinformed. Some misunderstand the movement and think that it is against their interests. Some don’t want to or can not afford to risk their interests for the greater good.
The videos below may or may not be live. Please listen carefully to find out if they are live.
Edition by Georges Chakra
Photo credit: Judith DeLong
Photo credit: Judith DeLong
On March 21st, 2010, more than two hundred thousand people, including legal and undocumented immigrants as well as US citizens, from over 30 states around the country, came to the National Mall in Washington, DC to attend a rally for comprehensive immigration reform. The rally was well organized. Three giant screens were set up in the mall allowing most rally attendees to see what was going on on the stage.
The rally featured many high profile speakers, including religious leaders such as President of the National Council of Churches Rev. Peg Chemberlin and Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Senator Robert Menendez and Congressional members such as Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and Michael Honda, African-American leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and President of the NAACP Benjamin Jealous, labor unions leaders such as Executive Vice President of SEIU Eliseo Medina, leaders of various civil rights groups such as National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murgía, leaders of various immigrants rights groups such as New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Chung-Wha Hong, and representatives from many other groups advocating for human rights, civil rights, immigrants rights (including immigrant students’ rights), the most surprising and exciting among them, MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben.
Also speaking at the rally were representatives of the people this rally was for. They were people who are facing deportation or may face deportation or whose family members have been deported or are facing deportation, as well as students who can not afford to go to college because of their immigration status.
Many speakers spoke Spanish only. I do not know Spanish. But one of the speakers who spoke Spanish only drove me to tears even though I could not understand what she was saying. I was moved by the tone of her voice, which revealed deep emotions.
A recording of President Obama’s message for the rally attendees was also played on the giant screens.
Among those who attended the rally were people like members of Families For Freedom, a mixture of immigrants in legal limbo, undocumented immigrants, US citizens and legal immigrants who are affected by US immigration policies because they are related to immigrants who are affected, and US citizens who support the rights of immigrants. Most of them came in groups representing cities and towns, churches, non-profit organizations, unions, etc.
Also presented at the rally were members of NumberUSA, an anti-immigrants group, and some anti-war activists who lamented that those who attended the immigration rally did not attend the anti-war rally the day before. I did not see either group at the rally myself. But their videos showed up on YouTube after the event. I think there are gaps between these two groups and the immigration reform advocates to be bridged.
The rally was so big and lasted for so long, there is no way anyone can tell you everything that has happened at the rally. Just getting a complete list of the rally speakers is not possible. Neither is it possible to find out how many groups from how many places in the US came to the rally.
The rally ended with live musical performance on the stage, when the march formally started.
The march probably lasted for about two hours. It was a longer march than most marches in Washington DC, I think. The march was also much bigger in size, compared to ones that I have attended before. The weather was good, thank God. And the best of all, Washington DC residents welcomed us. I saw them waving to us along the march. And I found YouTube videos showing some DC residents handing out drinking water to the people in the march, which is something new to me. I have been to many marches in Washington, DC. But I have never seen that before.