The following post is a segment from a longer piece I wrote. The full version can be found here.
At the first Occupy Oakland General Assembly on October 10th 2011, we assembled in groups with 4 strangers and shared who we were and why we were here. A few days later I ran into someone from my group while shopping at Berkeley Bowl. We couldn’t remember names, but we were thrilled to see each other.
The next day I headed over to Patelco Credit Union, to finally make a change from Chase. I had been intending to do so for years, and could never get it together. There was another woman there doing the same thing. Apparently she had also been at Occupy Oakland on and off. We high-fived.
As I walk through the streets I find I want to smile at everyone, to engage, to know how their life is going, to share about mine. Because for all I know anyone could wind up in a tent next to mine at Occupy Oakland. I’ll want them to look out for me, and me for them. When your world is that close, you want to gather your allies.
As I have been debriefing the occupation with my friends, multiple have confided: “My activist self has been awakened.” Someone at Occupy Oakland told me “This has already changed us forever.” And she’s right. We don’t know exactly where this is going. But we know we want change. And in each of us this is already happening. As each new Occupy story unfolds, more and more people in my communities are turning out, pulled for any number of reasons.
I believe that we are all activists. As young people we can feel the injustice in the world on a deep level. We ball up our fists, we scrunch up our cheeks and we cry out It’s NOT fair!! And then. And then we see that the adults around us don’t get particularly outraged when things aren’t fair. We’re told That’s life. You’re young. You don’t know any better. And such we learn. But it’s in each of us, waiting to be awakened. The movement is already successful. The success lies in all of the activists that have sprung forth from within us, launching ourselves with hope towards our friends, our new friends and the strangers on the street. And this remains true, no matter what happens.