Columbia Students Joined OWS
Written by Bwog Staff
Yesterday afternoon, nearly two hundred Columbia students walked and pedalled downtown to join the Occupy Wall Street protests. Some professors ended class early, and even joined the ranks of protestors. Thank you to skillful photographers Caitlin Watson, Wilfred Chan (both CC ’13) and Peter Sterne (CC’14) for providing these photographs.
Sarah Ngu, CC’12 was among the Columbians who went down to Wall Street yesterday. It was the first time she had joined the protests. Here she relates some of what she saw. Feel free to share your own pictures, experiences, observations and opinions in the comments, or send them to us at [email protected].
I went around asking different people why they were here. Two forty-year-old Mexican women were here because HB56 was passed in Alabama, allowing police to come into schools and take kids away and deport them with their families. They weren’t from Alabama, but those taken away were “their people” nevertheless. Some people gave me rather rehearsed speeches and I walked away. A woman, holding up a sign that said “This is the first time in a long that I feel hopeful,” just shrugged and said that the sign spoke for itself. She came down from Albany to be a part of this. A group of sex workers wanted more legal rights.
There was one girl who stood out – her name was Monica and her father emptied out his retirement fund to pay for her $19k/year tuition at Rutgers. She initially had a scholarship, but after it was taken away after budget cuts, she’s working two jobs. Not a whole lot of students in Rutgers cared, she told me, looking up to me as if Columbia students were much more involved and aware. I didn’t tell her that I walked by hundreds of people lounging in the grass on the way to the subway station.
Most people protesting were not homeless; many seemed employed. But everyone was out here with a burden to unload, whether it was about healthcare or education. More than anything, they had worked with the system – got a job, worked hard – but bills still weren’t paid and one still had to make hard choices between one’s retirement fund and one’s daughter’s tuition.