Why Moms Are Occupying Wall Street: 5 Real Stories

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mom at occupy wall street protestSo much of the mainstream media's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement has been skewered toward casting the protesters as a bunch of crazy, unshowered hippies who don't want to get a job. But if these reporters actually went down there and talked to the Wall Street protesters, they'd be shocked to see that most of them look just like you and me -- ordinary people with ordinary jobs and ordinary lives who are just trying to get through one day at a time and make the world a better place along the way.

One group that was particularly well-represented at the OWS march and rally on Wednesday was: parents -- specifically, moms who brought their children with them to the protest. Why are they protesting? They explained it way better than I ever could.

Let's take a look:

This is Kim, from New York, with her adorable 3-month-old daughter, explaining what brought her out to the protest:

Just in general sense that things are getting worse -- especially for the 99 percent -- in terms of growing income equality, fewer opportunities, and more expensive opportunities like education. I was able to pay for college and not have too much debt, but that's not possible now for my daughter. I feel there's a lot of greed and the wrong people have the wrong influence.

Hmmm ... that doesn't sound so crazy, does it? In fact, I bet a lot of parents could empathize with her fears for her child.

 

mom at occupy wall street protest

This is Lisa, also from New York, who brought her two children (one being Simon, here, the very excellent sharer) out to the protest because:

I wanted to speak out for a brighter vision for our future. I'm taking a stand for things I believe in. I'm here because I want a clear future for my children, I want them to be able to be educated, and breathe the air, and support themselves.

Is it just me, or are her demands for her kids (education and clean air) entirely reasonable?

 

moms at occupy wall street protest

moms at occupy wall street protest

These two moms in the top photo, Jean and Bettina, were some of the most inspirational people I talked to all day. Bettina teared up telling me she had been laid off twice in the last year and how it had been rough on her family. She and Jean -- they each brought their two kids -- came out specifically to protest budget cuts in public schools:

We're worried about a lot of things, but one of the main things is all the budget cuts to the schools in the city. We feel like here are bailing out the banks and not raising taxes for the richest 1 percent of the population ... while this year there's 30 kids in their class and we had to bring in all our own supplies and the budget cuts haven't even started yet. We're really pissed off.

After hearing their stories, suddenly the popular OWS chant, "People Not Profits," took on a whole new meaning.

**

I don't have a photo for the last one. Nicole came all the way from Pennsylvania with her young son Finn for their own personal protest. Their home was currently foreclosed, and she said, crying, that she was there to demand a further investigation into the way banks mishandled the housing market, especially because she felt her money (and other people's, too) had been stolen. What she shared was so raw, emotional, and personal -- too personal to snap a photo.

 

Images via Kim Conte

economy, education, in the news, protests

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dirti... dirtiekittie

thank you kim, for putting a face to this protest that truly GETS it. i feel like too many people have become complacent, not realizing that they too are just another part of the 99%. that complacency is what has let those fat cats get (and stay) where they are today.


OWS is not about hippies and free love, it's not about the unemployed wanting free hand outs... this article put it beautifully.

guita... guitarmom1

I just don't understand why the rich should be made to "share." This is America. You work for an education and you work for  money. If you work hard enough you get those things. No one owes you anything. Your lifestyle depends on the decisions you make in life. I am in no way wealthy. We basically live paycheck to paycheck. Would I like to have money handed to me? YOU BET! But is that right? NO WAY! I made the decisions in my life that put me where I am. Could I have made better decisions? Sometimes. Have I learned from the decisions I made? Yes. Will I pass this knowledge on to my children? I will try my best. Do I want everything handed to my children? NO. I want them to learn life-lessons like the rest of us have for the past 200 years. We work and we earn what we get. No one is expected to share. If a person wants to share that is a good thing. If they don't, that is their decision. 

mommix4 mommix4

guitarmom1- totally agree

sugar... sugarmansmom

I really don't think anyone is asking for a handout here...what they're asking for is fair practices.  When a CEO is making 600x's what his average employee makes, when wall streeters are taking bets on the failure of mortgages and then reaping billions in profits from the misfortune of others, when graduating students can't find a job that will even cover their student loan bills much less support them then something is going seriously wrong. 


Unfortunately today how hard you work is by no means indicative of how much you will earn.

zandh... zandhmom2

I also agree with guitarmom.  It seem we have become a country of whiny babies. You want better in your life, then go out and make it happen. Do I think that some big corporations screw the little guys ~ YES, just like I think our government does too! I didn't agree with the bailouts done under Bush but I certainly don't think Obama has done anything to help our economy either. All this talk on and on about taxing the riches people and closing tax loops are just talk.  Why hasn't it been done??? Because all the piloticans from our President down on the left and right ARE the "rich" people they claim they want to tax. Don't tell me they can't fix it if they really wanted to.

Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

The point is not that people want things handed to them. The point is that everything needs to be fair. Simplify and streamline the tax code. Everyone pays the same percent of their earnings - regardless of what those earnings are. Deductions need to be applied fairly and equally. Close the loopholes, and end any and all tax "cuts".
Right now, the middle class - the ones living paycheck to paycheck and working their butts off - bear the brunt of the tax burden. We pay the most, we get no breaks, and we claim the fewest deductions. We are the ones that will make or break the job market - because jobs are not created by the super-rich, they are created when demand increases the need for more workers. The middle class is the largest group of consumers, therefore we are the ones who create demand. If we have little to no money in our pockets at the end of the day, we are not spending more than we absolutely need to, which means demand is decreasing, which in turn is killing jobs. And the cycle continues.

So no, we don' t want handouts, we just want everything to be fair and equal. That way, those of us that are truly working our butts have the extra funds necessary to create demand, which is the only way the economy is ever going to improve.

Leanne Carnegie

What I really don't understand is what they are *proposing*.   What they want to actually *happen*.    I mean, you say "well, that guys makes too much money", and you sound like a crazy person who has no idea what they're protesting against.    Are we talking government reforms, here?   A change in the tax code?   I spent some time reading the forum on the occupywallst website this morning, and there were some really intelligent posts on there, but I just don't see those sentiments coming from the actual movement and thats where I'm confused.   Maybe someone can clarify. 

dirti... dirtiekittie

@mama2monkeyboys - beautifully said!

mom2m... mom2monsterboys

I think its great! The only way to truley initiate change is to stand up for what you believe in. Mama2monkey boys said it best...one class over another should have to carry the brunt of taxes. Also, why AREN'T schools receiving the funds they need? Why should our children have to suffer. This year my sons district cut all specials including library. Why? Well we live in a rural community and do not 'abuse' the budget, yet can't receive the help we so very badly need. Our schools budget isn't short because of reckless spending, its short because our schools were literally crumbling. Why bail out banks when our childrens educational needs are the ones needing bailing out?

Marjc... Marjchaos

I don't think it's really asking the rich to "share" when they control the government and all the money based laws are skewed towards helping them earn and keep more money than anyone else in the country.  It would be like if 5 year olds ran your house.  How much money would be spent on laundry detergent, food and taxes, and how much would be spent on toys, treats and fun days at amusement parks?  The Rich are definately the 5 year olds in this equation.  They have been molding our government to support them, and screw the rest of the country.  They are why the economy is the way it is.  Their power, and their influence got us here, and the rest of us should be mad, at them for happily ruining us, and at ourselves for not noticing it was happening until it got this bad.

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