Personnel Profile: Occupy Sacramento

Occupy Sacramento is part of the nationwide, leaderless solidarity movements fashioned after the ongoing Wall Street protest. These are a few of the voices of those who have committed themselves to the vision of the movement, as yet undefined, but rallying against abuses of the country’s financial system.

Jan Rein, 70, retired law professor
We need to get rid of the concept of corporate personhood. Originally, corporations were only permitted by charter, that is the founding fathers’ way. Corporate personhood is based on a twisted misinterpretation of the law. The Citizens United case is probably the most destructive decision to democracy that has come down from our Supreme Court.  

What benefits our children should be the bottom line of every piece of legislation. The questions should be asked: How will this affect our children? How will this affect our environment? Because we are committing suicide right now.

We also have to listen to and make a bridge to those we disagree with, because our economic interests are the same. Many don’t know who their true enemies are.

Sean Thompson, 27, part-time Sacramento City College student
There are a lot of individual reasons why we are all out here. Some stem from economic issues, some stem from political issues. On day one, when we all shared our vast amount of reasons being a part of this, we all came to consensus that it falls under the umbrella that corporations have a large hand in government in which they use money to influence decisions.

What we’re doing is trying to raise awareness of this, and peacefully come together to create solutions we think will work within the system to change all the corruption that’s taken place. I think everyone has been upset and disheartened because of the times, and when I saw the protests taking place in New York, I thought immediately something like that needs to happen everywhere, something needs to happen here.

Personally, it would completely satisfy me if I could just see no one living on the streets of Sacramento. I think everyone has the right to a warm home, 24 hours.

Erin Hamster, 31, unemployed speech language pathology assistant
I want to see a huge dialogue, at the very least. Having people talk about what has been going on, and reaching the middle class that has been pretty stagnant. I hope that the movement here can solidify with the movement in New York. I hope we can get something in place so that corporate money no longer has a role in government.

Our city government is being so apathetic when there are so many cities in the US that have their local government behind them, allowing public space to be used so that people can get together and talk.

Rob, 25, restaurant server
I see a lot of people, being the goal-focused Americans that they are, asking: “What’s the goal? What’s the solution?” And then when you don’t have an answer they think you’re unstructured.

The important thing for me is that it’s about taking a step back and asking questions. Any sort of change that we want isn’t going to occur unless we stop to think about things, and that’s what we’re doing here.

I want to see some sort of structural reform that allows big business to pay their fair share of taxes. I want to see improvement in business morality. Once we have that money in place we can put it toward education. I think once we start seeing a better education system, one where we encourage students to think critically, we’ll start to see a general improvement in humanity.

Kia Pruitt, 43, self-employed life coach and author
We need to see more jobs here. I read that California has the second largest unemployment rate in the nation, and that’s ridiculous. I want to see someone put their finger on the pulse of the needs of everyday people.

I’m excited about the people standing up for their rights. I’ve been watching the Occupy Wall Street movement and I’ve been really energized by it, so I wanted to see my own city do something. I want to see the people have more say in what goes on in government, and I don’t feel like that’s happening. I want to see the “1 percent” get taxed like the rest of us.

Larry Smith, semi-retired, adjunct community college history teacher, 60
I’d like to see a greater sense of corporate integrity and responsibility and I would like to see the government making a more vigorous and thorough job toward the regulation of these industries. It’s important to make our presence known, I think over the years demonstrations by themselves are good for raising visibility, but unless there’s a way of translating that energy into something concrete it’s easy for it to pass.

This is a national issue, what’s going on with the economic future of our country. It’s an important direction that we’re taking right now. People years from now are going to be talking about what happened today. We need to wake up. Something like this, if nothing else, puts focus on where the problem really is. Government is not the problem.

Shalimar Anderson, 27, unemployed
I hope that when New York is covered in snow, we’ll carry the torch in the warmer states. And Sacramento is the Capitol of the largest economy in the nation, so it’s a great place to show dissent.

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