NEW YORK — Occupy Wall Street might have started as a small demonstration September 17, finding a home in New York’s Zuccotti Park, but since then, it has grown into a revolutionary movement, spanning 951 cities in 82 countries.
On Saturday night (October 15), an Occupation Party was to start at 5 p.m. ET sharp in New York’s Times Square. At around 4:45 p.m., a few hundred people had congregated. By 6:30 p.m., the number had easily reached the thousands.
An extension of Occupy Wall Street, the Occupation Party had gathered in the hub of New York consumerism, Times Square, to peacefully yet heartily protest corporate greed, nationwide unemployment and unethical governmental practices. They set out to march from their starting point back down to Wall Street.
Comprised of an eclectic mix of individuals, the rally saw folks playing music, dancing and chanting slogans such as “This is what Democracy looks like” and “We are the 99 percent.”
Within the thousands were three young individuals who expressed the gamut of frustrations with “the system”:
Fighting for: Job creation
A senior in college, Janet recently lost her job as a call-center employee because the positions were outsourced to Singapore. “I was laid off, and I’m currently receiving unemployment, and it’s so hard to find a job, and my unemployment is running out,” Janet told MTV News. Janet is one of millions without a job and losing hope. According to the U.S. Board of Labor, the current unemployment rate in the U.S. is 9.1 percent, up more than 5 percent from the year 2000. “My future is in jeopardy,” a cheerful but clearly anxious Janet said.
Location: New York
Fighting for: Hope
Standing atop a plant above the crowd was Jen, a young woman working two jobs at Edible Arrangements and UPS to pay her way through her full-time program in college. “It’s all in preparation for a future that might not exist anymore because there are no more jobs. There’s no dollar amount that can fix anything that I can ever hope to achieve in my life,” Jen said. An aspiring entrepreneur, Jen cited the drop in value of the American dollar and taxes as the obstacles standing in the way of her dreams.
Location: New York
Fighting for: Equality
In the middle of the enormous crowd was a small hole. It seemed to be the epicenter, and everyone had formed around it. The attention seemed to be going to a young man in glasses and a red glass earring through his ear. Peter Olsen was one of the facilitators of the Occupation Party. The friendly young man was adopted from poverty-ridden Colombia by his parents, a couple from Westchester County in New York, but Peter found himself ostracized as a minority. “I was discriminated against. My parents adopted me because they thought I’d be in a better position here. Now I’m worse off than I would have been,” said Peter, who told us he has four degrees and six certificates. Not only is he working in a Verizon store, but he still feels out of place.
With their futures hanging in the balance, Janet, Jen and Peter still smiled on, protesting to have their voices heard. These are just a handful of stories from within the Occupation Party, which has been compared to 1995′s Million Man March. Whether it reaches such heights remains to be seen, but it was clear that the demonstrators came together for one common cause: change. And they won’t take “no” for an answer.
Share your thoughts on the ongoing Wall Street protests in the comments below.