The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Occupy City College

Alexa Baca, 22, english major at SCC, suported his fellow 99% with his homemade sign at Ceaser Chavez Park on Oct 16, 2011. By Tony Wallin | [email protected]

The Occupy movement may have lost some momentum over the past year, but its principles still rage on in the hearts of those who were involved. The Occupy movement began with Occupy Wall Street on Sept. 17, 2011. In Manhattan’s Financial District a group of individuals joined together to protest the economic and political injustices of our country, specifically the unequal distribution of wealth to 1 percent of American citizens.

“We are the 99 percent” became the slogan of the movement, spreading throughout the country and inspiring uprisings in over 100 cities in the United States according to Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Sacramento was one of the many inspired uprisings. Following the example of Occupy Wall Street, a group of Sacramento citizens began protesting on Oct. 6, 2011 with peaceful demonstrations on the front lawn of Sacramento City Hall. City College students Sara Beth Brooks, 27, and Robert Mullis, 26, were there that day among others.“There were a lot of passionate, intelligent, engaged people wanting to bring about a change,” she said.

Brooks, a communications major at City College, joined Occupy Sacramento and became involved in its coordination. She protested in Cesar Chavez Plaza every day for the first couple months of protests, coordinated the General Assembly and was also involved with coordinating the people who decided to protest after hours. Due to a medical condition, however, when things started to dwindle as winter approached, Brooks had to find other ways to remain engaged.

“I still believe in the Occupy movement and the principals of Occupy,” said Brooks. Since she can’t be active in the streets, Brooks has turned her  focus toward education. Brooks continues to emanate the movement’s principles of knowledge, truth, transparency of government and account-ability for our leaders through the debate team at City College. She means to hone her public speaking and critical thinking skills in order to advocate more effectively in the future.

“I have to focus on getting through school,” said Brooks. “[Activism] becomes so much fun that nothing else looks fun in comparison.”

Robert Mullis, a philosophy major at City College, also dove right into the Oc-cupy movement. For him, the emergence of Occupy meant there were other people who were also thinking about the presence of government, the growing homelessness and unemployment throughout the country and all the unethical things he had noticed.

“The feeling of being part of some-thing you believe in is exhilarating,” said Mullis. “Knowing that other people care about the world and the people in it struck a chord for me.” Mullis started helping with the social media aspect of Occupy, main-taining the Facebook and Twitter accounts, but soon moved to scheduling workshops and placing event information on the web-site and calendar. Like Brooks, however, as winter drained the momentum out of the protests, Mullis followed it out.

Also like Brooks, Mullis is taking the time to focus on finishing his education. He then plans to teach others how to think for themselves, and then perhaps the principals behind Occupy can find a foothold in edu-cated individuals and beget change. “I still support the movement and what it means,” said Mullis. “However, I decided that the best method in which mass reform could take place is through means of education.”
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Dr. Nancy Olsen, English reading professor, agrees. When hearing of Occupy Wall Street in 2011, Olsen organized a walk out for students soon after Occupy Sacra-mento began their protests. Students and faculty members at City College walked out of their classrooms in the middle of scheduled classes on Oct. 13 and peacefully protested in front of the campus library for about an hour. A small group of students then made their way over to the Cesar Chavez Plaza to join Occupy Sacramento-protestors.

Sac State Environmental Studies major, Laurel Rhodes, at the Occupy together protest rally at Cesar Chavez Park on Thursday October 6, 2011. by Tony Wallin_ [email protected]

Just after the protests began Olsen attempted to educate students on Occupy by making up a facts sheet and passing it out to students. She also organized an Understand-ing Occupy Day.

“A lot of students didn’t know about it,” said Olsen. A year later, Olsen encour-ages students to be informed of the issues, to ask questions, and to walk out if that is what they feel is right. Her main focus has turned to getting the students to vote and educating them on the issues so they are informed voters who can make a change in society, according to Olsen.

Supporters of the Occupy movement still continue to meet weekly at a General Assembly in Cesar Chavez Park in Sacramento according to occupysac. com. Supporters such as Sara Beth Brooks, Robert Mullis and Nancy Olsen have found new ways for Occupy to live on through their educational pursuits, and all hope one day to have enough educated people in the system to force a change.

“We can educate the right values into our future generations,” said Mullis. “Being an informed citizen of the world is a part of Occupy,” said Brooks.



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