I had to go down and see what all the hubbub was about so I walked out of class and joined the #OccupyWallStreet protestors. Here’s what I saw.
The march was very peaceful. Strangers were commenting to each other about what a great feeling they were experiencing. The energy was palpable. It reminded me of running a marathon. People were on the sidewalks cheering us on. They had wry smiles that definitely urged us to keep at it. It was pretty powerful — electric. Folks were coming out on to their balconies and watching. Workers were standing in their storefronts cheering us on. Construction workers and cabbies high-fived us as we flooded around their cars.
Overall things seem to be organized, calm, and collected. During our pre-march brief we were instructed to respect the cops and remember that they are there to protect us. The protestors’ beef is not with the NYPD.
It was interesting to see the Labor Unions join forces. It’s a little late in the game — already into the third week — but, I didn’t get the sense they were trying to co-opt the movement. While there were obviously some that were leading the charge, there was no one person guiding us.
Finally, I found the crowd to be what you’d expect in New York. Courteous, respectful, and diverse. And when I say diverse, I mean age, sexuality, race — there was a little bit of everything represented. I think the MSM is getting it wrong when they say it’s all “crybaby kids that don’t have anything else to do.” Everyone there was passionate about what they were doing and well aware of the risks.