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Occupy: the movement of our generation


While you were screaming for the home team to win, they were screaming for the government to listen. 

On Saturday, Oct. 15, while thousands of people milled through the Grove and Circle on their way to a football game, a small but mighty group of people gathered in Memphis to combat the economic corruption in the United States. They call themselves Occupy Memphis, a branch among many being established around the country stemming from the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. 

By now, through constant exposure from the media, you have heard about, if not understand, all that is going on with the Occupy movement. This movement could very well be the social movement of our generation, and we walk around with no will to learn about the history happening right in front of our noses. 

Every day we are encouraged as both students of this university and as citizens of the United States of America to take a stand and change whatever we do not like about our surroundings.

Earlier this year when the protests in Egypt were under way, many of us felt envious toward a group of young people who were willing to make a change. Now it seems that our chance has come to show the rest of the world that the youth of America are just as capable of bring the change they feel their country needs. 

The Occupy movement broadly calls for reform of an unfair economic situation. Protestors say they are rising as representatives for the previously unrepresented 99 percent against the wealthier and overly represented 1 percent. 

As one searches deeper into the cause, he or she will find many smaller reasons stemming from the failing economy that serve as the forces behind the movement’s participants. Many of the people present at the Occupy Memphis gathering talked about their feelings toward the unfair taxation of corporations. However, each person has his or her individual motive behind his or her presence at that park in Memphis. 

Because of these differing motives, born of the same rage against injustice, the movement as a whole is made up of people from various walks of life that symbolize the unity this country was built upon. 

One thing particularly interesting about the preparation the protestors presented at the Memphis rally was the stressing of their chosen position as non-violent. 

The extremely diverse group, under the instruction of three facilitators, participated in a training session that taught the ins and outs of non-violent protesting. 

Among the things learned were appropriate ways to stand your ground against the opposing side, whether it was law enforcement, media or passers-by with different views. 

Also stressed was the importance of identifying yourself as an active or passive resistor when threatened with arrest. The facilitators constantly warned the protestors that there could be a great chance of arrest. 

Despite the impending danger of being arrested, the Memphis protestors stayed where they were, obviously not going to back out of a fight for what they and every other American believe in: freedom and equality. 

While no leader was defined, the people gathered that day at the Civic Center Plaza in Memphis and accomplished more than expected.

Many people may call them “hippies,” but they are solidifying their place as true Americans by standing up and fighting against a problem that has plagued this country for years. 

Though the decision is ultimately up to the individual whether or not to join the cause, the Occupy movement has come during what it sees as the final hour. 

Amid the gloomy downturn of the economy and the rising rates of unemployment, the Occupy movement is the catalyst that could develop America into a phoenix rising from the ashes of a burning economic catastrophe. Thus, as students of a university that teaches us the importance of taking a stand for what you believe in, we can do more to inform ourselves about the events happening around us. 

You do not have to join the cause or even agree with it; you just have to be willing to do the research to avoid casting an ill-informed opinion on something you know little about. 

For those who want to join the cause or find out more information about the movement, Occupy Memphis has both a website (www.occupymemphis.org) and a Facebook page.