The Faces of Occupy Wall Street – Jewel Buchanan-Boone

October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I’m 20 years old. The biggest part [that has affected me about the financial crisis] has been financial aid. I am a student and I do work. I’m a young student of color and I’m an emancipated foster youth so even though I was given the benefit of being technically an independent student, unfortunately between the university’s tuition fees and the housing racket they’ve taken all of my financial aid and they’ve asked for more money. All my textbooks had to come out of my pocket. Luckily I have parents who are able to help me out.
Both of my parents work for the state so they’ve already had to take furloughs and pay cuts up the wazoo. I’m not as hard hit as others. I’ve never had to skip a meal. I’ve definitely seen the affect it has had on my family and my friends. My sister is struggling through student loans right now trying to get her masters degree. So yeah, I’ve been affected but not as hard hit as some other people have been.
When we have professors who are too angry to teach… I appreciate them showing their anger because in this environment we have a chilling effect coming down from the administration in that professors can’t rail out against furloughs. They can’t even come in to teach. Just the sheer number of classes that have been cut; the fact that they’re merging colleges now, they are firing certain professors here and there because of certain programs… my education has definitely been affected.
I’m not one of these students that just goes to college because that’s what you are supposed to do. I’m a student who loves knowledge. I’ve definitely been angry that I couldn’t get in to this class or that class. They started putting restrictions on what you can and cannot register for. And a lot of these majors are impacted, making life even harder. So you can’t really go to school for the joy of education. The joy of community and learning. You have to go to school and really just make it all about getting that degree. Getting that piece of paper that somehow validates you as a person in society.
Really I just wanted to see what this ‘occupy SFSU’ movement was all about. I’ve seen the list of grievances. Not a list of demands or action items. So I really wanted to see what the student activism angle was and not just going in and shouting at people because I don’t believe that’s effective. I got to talk with students I never talked to before. Met a few cool people. So I can support in any way that I can as long as we have a legitimate agenda.
I’m kind of ambivalent when it comes to the umbrella movement [occupy wall street]. I feel that you cannot demonize another entity or even the 1% because they are human too. They may have inherited their money. They may be part of corporations etc.etc. but I don’t think they are bad people. I think they are part of a bad system. Unfortunately we cannot always change the hand that life deals us. So I don’t believe in scapegoating on the 1%. The same way that I don’t believe the 1% should scapegoat on the 99%.
I believe that everybody should work together. Unfortunately people are too wrapped up in their vested interests in order to grasp the concept of working together. So even though people are occupying together, these are a lot of people who are angry and who are already the 99% or have been reduced to the 99%. These are people of privilege, a lot of them are Caucasian Americans who are like ‘oh s**t this is what it’s really like? Oh my god I don’t have this job anymore. I’m losing aspects of my privilege’ and they don’t realize the blessing that they still are privileged as White Americans.
As a whole I would really like to see the direction this movement takes and not just scapegoating and getting people angry. When you get people angry you lose rhetoric. It’s pathological. When you rely solely on pathos as opposed to logos – the logical appeal – or even ethos; the ethical appeal, you lose strength. I would really like to see the sharing of minds. I think this is the first time in a long time, aside from educational institutions, that people are creating salons together like they did in the 1800s in France. Sharing this exchange of ideas where people are actually caring about what somebody else is going through because now we realize we’re all in the same boat.”


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