While Reider sees the advantage of an education, protester Coreale Jones, 20, who is also black, has put her education on hold to take part in Occupy Wall Street. When I asked her about the wisdom of that decision, she said, “Some people would say no, some people would say yes. I say, in my own opinion, I think it’s a smart move … if I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be satisfied with myself.” Jones adds she can always go back to school.
She says that she’s passionate about the movement’s message of economic equality, but she has avoided getting arrested. Jones heeded the call by police to evacuate Zuccotti Park before Tuesday’s early-morning police raid that cleared it of tents and sleeping bags, an action that the courts have upheld.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, Jones and Reider were among the thousands of people, including union members, who rallied in and around Foley Square in Manhattan. A group of demonstrators wearing “99 Percent” T-shirts — including New York City Council members Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez — were arrested during a sit-in at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Later, marchers crossed the pedestrian walkway of the bridge into Brooklyn, in what was a mainly peaceful demonstration.
Willie White, 39, came straight from his shift as a food preparer at Whole Foods. He told The Root that it was his first Occupy Wall Street protest and he did it “to show solidarity with the 99 percent and support the movement.” It was also the first time health care worker Sherril Christian, 54, marched with Occupy Wall Street. She joined other union members from 1199SEIU and said the 99 percent “are our brothers and sisters; we have to support them.”
While Occupy Wall Street participants have vowed to continue, it is unclear where the movement is ultimately headed. Members have always said “it’s not a protest, but a process.”
Reider, who now sleeps at another space set up for protesters, said that without the tents and sleeping bags, Zuccotti Park will go back to the roots of the movement, and that movement will go on.
Julie Walker, a freelance reporter in New York, has covered aspects of the Occupy Wall Street movement since the beginning.