Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's About The Change In You!

Occupy Providence Post

To start off I really didn't know what Occupy Providence was all about.  All I knew was what the school newspaper published on a weekly basis.  And I never really read in depth the articles they published.  I walked up to Burnside Park with a clean slate and left with alot of knowledge about what it is, what it stood for and the determination of reaching equality in many aspects.  I noticed the mass amount of tents, pallets(from sleeping on the cold ground) and tarps.  There were probably 20 people total that I saw walking around and conversing around this lemonad stand structure Mike(in class).  I met two people named Mike and Chuck.  Later I was joined by Shennen.  I didn't really know where to start and just started with the obvious question, "What is Occupy Providence?"  Mike had just been there for a week and explained to me that they were standing up for equality and the injustices the major corporations had been partaking in.  He said the biggest group they were protesting against were the politicians who were making thousands and not funding local businesses.  He kept on emphasizing greed and corruption against the little men.  He said corporate greed is at an all time high and many people feel the same as Occupy Providence does.  He said with the help of local markets, stores and general people with this concern, progress is around the corner. Mike was standing up for the agriculture businesses who were being put out of business by the bigger corporations.  The mom and pop stores being run out because the bigger agricultural companies had a patent on a seed where production could only be used by them.  Well with all of the lawsuits and attorney fees and court fees, the mom and pop agriculture companies didn't stand a chance.  Mike, like me, is from North Carolina, said there are bigger problems in the South due to the heavy agriculture business companies running these smaller companies out of business.  He said there were a number of causes they were fighting for in Occupy Providence.  I asked him what kind of protests did he partake in and he said a week ago the Providence firefighters and Occupy Providence marched to the City Hall to fight for the continuance of the firefighters pension plans.  I didn't know about this and it shed some light to me that not only Occupy Providence was involved but also the firefighters were in alliance with them. He also emphasized the importance of taxing the rich like the middle class families as well.  This I found very interesting because we had been talking about that in class and Warren Buffet is also a supporter of this.
  I asked Mike general questions about where do they get food, toiletries and locations of bathrooms facilities and the answers I got were very saddening.  He said there weren't any porter potties that you actually have to go to a restaurant and buy something in order to use the bathroom.  I then asked what about the homeless?  All he said was they make do.  Wow!  He said they get donations of food, clothing and blankets but that's pretty much it.  I then asked if the Salvation Army donates anything and he said he wasn't aware of any.  I then asked what about electricity or a generator?  No was the answer I got.  He mentioned that people do have jobs and houses and let the occupy providence followers use their resources considering they don't have any outlets for microwaves.  I can't imagine living out there with no power, bathrooms or the necessities to live.  I then asked if there were water fountains and he also said no.  Water and food is key for survival in these conditions yet there weren't any around.  It was a very depressing environment.  He then told me several people live out there a couple of nights a week and then go retreat back to their homes to stand up for the cause.  I noticed there was a sign that said no alcohol or drugs.  I asked him if he had any behavioral or intoxication problems and he said not very much.  I then asked him do you find alot of people taking advantage of the system by asking for donations, for example the homeless.  He said there's alot of people who take advantage of the system and their movement but yet they can't turn anyone down.  I met another individual named Chuck.  I think he was high or something because he looked under the influence of something.  He kept on repeating himself and made no sense.  While talking to him, he kept on shaving his face and I was scared he was going to cut his face or something.  I need a mirror when I shave, just a little necessity that makes a difference to me.  I asked Mike about local enforcement patrolling for any illegal activity.  He said if they do come it's usually around 4 am when everybody is sleeping.  I asked if there were any medical teams that come out to help and he said he wasn't aware of any.  I was mind boggled about the lack of everyday necessities one needs in order to survive in these treacherous environments.  I then asked him how much sleep do you get a night?  He said you'd be suprised by it but often he wakes up every 2-3 hours.  Crazy!  I asked him has he seen progress and he said he has.  That come Spring time he knows this movement is about to make a big push and fight for equality.  He said the timing could have been better but they got to do what they got to do.

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