We the younger people of the 99 percent, of a generation that was raised on technology, media consumption and an uncertain future, in order to form a more perfect existence, establish a true sense of justice and equality, in a country we have loved since birth, love to the extent that we are willing to peacefully gather and fight for her people. All of her people. As we stand on the cusp of adulthood and childhood, we also stand on the cusp of indifference and action. Admist a culture inundated with Xbox, Jersey Shore and the latest and greatest toys, we choose to stand for justice, liberty and to uphold the ideals outlined in the Constitution for the United States of America.
I attended the Occupy DC march on Freedom Plaza and the encampment at McPherson Square. This wasn’t my first protest. I went to the Free Trade protest in Miami a few years ago, but I was ignorant of the true importance of why everyone was protesting. I was young and just following a girl I liked.
Now fully immersed in the abyss of adulthood, I fully understand what it means to be an American citizen paying into a system that seems to have lost its way. Countless friends and their parents have lost jobs leaving them waylaid by a system that once seemingly promised college graduates – or anyone who worked just hard enough - the keys to the kingdom: A decent paying job with benefits, property and ample opportunity to enjoy the spoils of a middle-class life with their family. In 2011, and possibly for the next few years, that dream seems like a mirage for even the highest-performing student from the best college.
I had a chance to talk with a few folks at Occupy DC about why protest now and what will this actually do. The response was pretty simple: We have no choice. The system is broken and won’t be fixed on its own. No one seems to care to tinker around and see what the problem is, so we took to the streets and decided to choose action over the complacency that the media seems to attach to my generation.
I was a little scared, despite the fact that Occupy DC had a permit for the initial four days at Freedom Plaza. A drunken man wanted to start a fight and called our gear trash. Weary police looked on intently as we marched past their trucks. A few protestors got pepper sprayed at the National Air and Space Museum. But I knew it wasn’t about me, but rather a higher calling, an outreach of a movement that is much bigger than my concerns and issues will ever be.
Pastor Dean Snyder at Foundry UMC in D.C. preaches that Christians are called to action and to stand against injustice even when it’s scary to do so. Back in June, Pastor Dean talked about Street Hope and how Heavin will come to us in the form of a thriving city where there is true justice and equal distribution of “wealth”. He said the said:
“Heaven is the city healed of injustice. What God is doing in human history is developing a humanity who know how to live with each other justly and who have a desire to do so. And when we learn to share and when we learn to establish just economic systems, then the city of God will come down to us from heaven like a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:2) The city is a place of great abundance.”
I believe that our generation is hungry to finally see justice for all lived out in action and not words. We are hungry to see economic justice where not only the top one percent of citizens are guaranteed a good life, but the remaining ninety-nine can enjoy some of the comforts and inalienable rights that the rich are able to partake in. We are hungry to see every American, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion or economic status, treated as a full equal in the American dream and enjoy the rights of the majority without feeling like a criminal for doing so. No longer are we Generation Y, the group of young people after Generation X. We are Generation Y Not, as in why not usher in justice and equality now.
Ty is a member of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. and is passionate about human rights and equality.