Something bothered me about the whole situation. At the time I had no idea that this was Occupy Wall Street. What had happened back there? Why were people being pepper-sprayed and arrested by the vanfull? Why were there so many cops out there, and why was the street blocked if nobody was in any immediate danger? These questions went through my head for the next few hours. When I got home, I immediately went to Google the event from earlier, but there was no need. The pepper-spraying video had already gone viral. “Disturbing” is too weak a word to describe the actions of the officers that day. “Grotesque” wouldn’t even start to do it justice. “Inhumane” may be the word to describe what happened.Fast forward a few weeks of researching Occupy Wall Street and watching the livestream every night until 5am, with the occasional visits to the park. I wanted to find a way to get involved. I asked a few friends if they would come down to the park, thinking it would help me get plugged in more easily. No one was interested. “What do they want? What are their demands? Protesting seems stupid to me,” they said. A concept so abstract that it’s hard to explain and one that’s so simple that you can easily get behind it. That night I was watching livestream and remember Monica talking about a student walkout to show solidarity for Occupy Wall Street. “This is my chance,” I thought.
Having just transferred to my school, I walked in to the building not knowing a single person who was participating in the walkout. It started as just five of us … then 10 … 20 … 50, until we reached a few hundred. We walked through the streets, marching and chanting at the top of our lungs, losing our voices 30 minutes in. Finally, we reached Foley Square. The scene was magical. The steps of the courthouse were packed full, there wasn’t room in the square, and the streets were overflowing from every angle. Bands were playing and people were laughing and smiling. The windows of every apartment and store were packed with people witnessing history. “This is going to be big,” I thought.
I continued to march toward Liberty Plaza. About 30 minutes later we reached Liberty, and I immediately knew what I had to do. I saw the faces I’d seen on livestream and immediately approached them to thank them and become more familiar with some of the people in the park. I introduced myself to Dwayne, Monica, Steph, and a few others I recognized. They were warm, welcoming. That’s not something you see often in New York. I remember asking Devin, an Occupier who had come here from Seattle, whom to talk to in order to get more involved with the Media working group. He pointed me in the direction of Vlad. “Tell me what to do,” I said to him. Vlad asked if I had a laptop. “It’s in my bag right now,” I responded. With a smile on his face, he told me to set up a Twitter account … and the rest is history.
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