The Root visited the Occupy D.C. demonstration in Washington's McPherson Square on Nov. 7 to talk to some protesters about why they joined the movement, their experiences with a lackluster economy and their daily lives among the tents of the downtown-Washington encampment. Here's what the interviewees, some of whom chose not to disclose their last names or ages, had to say.
"What we're accomplishing [at Occupy D.C.] slowly is a community base that will lead [in accumulating solutions] instead of reiterating problems … We're starting out here by acting as a direct democracy, having people have their own voices, and allowing that to construct and form this community and communities like this in occupations all over the world. So, these [protests] hopefully act as a template to extend that outward."
'In the Country of Milk and Honey'
"[Americans] conform to the ideology [that] we vote, it counts; [we] go back to work, go to school, go about your business … That's it, we did our job. But [the] reality is, you have nearly a quarter of the population that [is] homeless … in the country of milk and honey." —Emilio
Close to Home
Signs decorate the Occupy D.C. encampment at McPherson Square in downtown Washington, about one block northeast of the White House.
Emblem of a Nation
An American flag waves as demonstrators congregate around the square's bronze equestrian statue.
Arsenio Rodriguez, 24, Protester
"You have the right to peacefully assemble against the government and address them for grievances that you have. And that's basically what you see going on [here]."
Handmade signs are laid out on the grounds of McPherson Square. Occupy D.C. demonstrators have inhabited the park since Oct. 1.
Kevin Wiley, Protester
"The people here who are demonstrating realize that they are not part of the 1 percent of the world's population who are billionaires. That leaves over 5 billion that are the 99 percent … I'm also out here because I want corporations to pay their taxes. Everybody else does."
A Message to Obama
“To Obama: Do as the Lord instructs you, and not the lobbyists.” —Kevin Wiley
Another Occupy D.C. encampment, located along the city's famed Pennsylvania Avenue, sits within view of the U.S. Capitol.
Damien Bascom, 28, Protester
"My reason for being here is to represent the Occupy Movement for the D.C. residents, especially the homeless community, the people that have been ostracized. The senior citizens have been pushed out of our D.C. community because they couldn't pay their property taxes."
"These rappers, once they become conscious and they start promoting more leadership and responsibility in our community, I'll [leave the Occupy D.C. camp]. But until then, I'm staying here." —Damien Bascom