On September 19, I was leaving work from the South Street Seaport when a woman approached me with a flier. It read, “Wall Street is now occupied.” Recently having found an interest in photography, I grabbed my camera and headed down to the park. As I got closer, I heard the drums beating louder and louder. As I entered the park, I was amazed at the amount of energy present. It was a beautiful display of peaceful action—so much kindness and gentleness in the camp, so much belief in our world and democracy. This was during a time when two General Assemblies occurred every day. I sat in on the tail end of the 1pm General Assembly, learning about the process and what exactly Occupy Wall Street was all about.
I heard something that particularly caught my ear: “At tonight’s GA, we will discuss how to prepare for the rain tomorrow.” Having studied the weather for about 11 years, I quickly jumped in with a point of information: “The rain will start in about two hours, not tomorrow, and it will be heavy.” Most people had growing concerns, and the General Assembly continued for another two hours. We all sat together as the skies darkened and the wind increased, brainstorming ideas from the 500 people in the park on how to protect everyone’s belongings.
What happened over the next few hours is what kept me coming back. After much discussion, we decided there was not much we could do to protect personal belongings from the rain. Some people bought raincoats and garbage bags for their belongings, while others just stood in T-shirts and enjoyed the warm weather, even though they were getting soaked. Regardless of how people prepared for the rain, the morale and energy was still high.
That day was also the first march I participated in at Occupy Wall Street. In the rain, roughly a hundred of us marched around Wall Street for the closing bell. That’s when I realized that the Occupy Wall Street movement was long overdue in this country, and if the pouring rain had not discouraged people, nothing will.