Activism

Occupy Wall Street and My Future

As this week draws to a close and I start to get emails from my school about what to do to prepare for graduation and how to apply for distinction, I’m thinking more and more about life after college. Paired with these sort of exciting reminders that I’ll be moving on this spring, I’ve been following a blog called “We are the 99%” on tumblr. This blog is part of the Occupy Wall Street protest that is currently happening in NYC, and it shows regular ol’ people describing how their lives have been impacted and in many cases destroyed by the economic troubles of our country and the greed of the elite.

Examples include things like

“I am a 29 year old student, wife, waitress and mother of 3.

We bought our home in 2005, they foreclosed in 2010.

We got health insurance finally…but they’ve raised the monthly cost so much that it cuts into our rent which also means that we can’t afford co-pays.

I just used the last of my grocery money to turn our water back on.

If we still had our “American Dream” we’d be burning the white picket fence for warmth by winter.

I’d occupy Wall Street myself , but I can’t afford the gas.

My husband and I both work so hard but we know if things stay the same we will never get ahead…..let alone break even.

We are the 99 Percent”

and

“I have a 4 year old autistic son.

I cannot find work. No unemployment.

My husband cannot find work. No unemployment.

It’s been 3 years for both of us.

My mom, with whom we moved in with, lost her job as a teacher last year. She cannot find work. Her unemployment doesn’t even cover the mortgage much less the bills.

in 2 weeks, B of A will start foreclosure proceedings on us. We have nowhere else to go & no $ or job to help us get another place.

I can’t go back to school or get a part-time job without my family losing our food stamps & Medicaid.

We are the 99%!!!”

Meanwhile, major media sources have ignored the protests and the police brutality that happened over the weekend. Our safety nets are letting us down.

Looking towards my own future I am completely terrified. I’m a philosophy and religion major from a small, liberal arts school. There are no jobs available for me. And since many of you readers will be making decisions about what to study and where to go in your lives post high school in the very near future, I think you should know how it feels to have made the decision to study something you consider important, powerful and fascinating only to look back and wonder if you have just signed yourself into poverty. It’s terrifying and also angering. The American Dream does not say that only those who study business and resign themselves to cheaper state schools should succeed. It says that those who work hard, are smart and talented and who push themselves should succeed. I have been lied to.

I want to make sure that my generation is 100% aware of what is happening to their country and their opportunities. As fellow teens and young adults, I feel that you guys have a right to know that Wall Street has been playing with our futures and our country is in no position to help us or give us the natural support a government owes to its citizens after we graduate from school, after we move out of our parents’ houses. This is not intended to be a message to fear monger, but rather one to raise awareness and hopefully get some of you fired up about protesting and about making changes. There are occupation movements in almost every major city in the US being planned right now. If you feel passionately about your future, if you feel as though you have been wronged by the previous generation, I strongly urge you to participate. I know I will be. We can take control of our futures, but we need to be aware of what is happening.

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Olivia

Olivia

Olivia is a giant pile of nerd who tends to freak out about linguistic prescriptivism, gender roles, and discrimination against the mentally ill. By day she writes things for the Autism Society of Minnesota, and by night she writes things everywhere else. Check out her ongoing screeds against jerkbrains at www.taikonenfea.wordpress.com

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