We just returned from adding our support and thanks to the hundreds of people who are occupying Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. They are among the kindest, most polite people I’ve seen in a long time. The park was immaculate. Volunteers were sweeping the pavement, others were quietly playing music, a few were holding signs. All we said was, “Thanks,” each time we met someone new. Gorgeous smiles erupted, “When people like you thank us it makes sleeping in the rain worth it.”

Sometime during the morning a reporter stopped to ask the usual questions: Where do you live? Why are you here? What do you think about this? But then she asked what we thought of the fact that this revolution had no leader, no real focus, no consistent message. What did we think of that?

Of course there is a clear focus, but it doesn’t fit into the neat formula that the media wants. Our democracy is being eroded. We are the 99% of the population who have been steamrolled economically, socially, politically, culturally by the 1% who use money to wield power. You may hear about particular concerns, we told the reporter, but do not be fooled into thinking that we do not agree on common grievances.

GoingPublic.org supports and embraces the concerns of the #occupywallstreet movement, because public education is part of the big picture too. The myth of the charter school is based on a manufactured crisis, the same as the crisis middle class workers are facing when they learn that their pensions have been raided. Same as all workers who woke to the news that they are no longer part of a mobile society they believed was their right.

We who have played by the rules never thought that there were another set of rules that didn’t include us. Now we know.

The good people in Zuccotti Park need donations, they need food, they need showers! But they mostly need to know that you support them. Social networks get the news out quickly, but nothing replaces real bodies next to other real bodies. Come to the Park, say “thanks,” ask how you can help. Your democracy is counting on you.


About The Author

Nancy Letts

Nancy Letts consults with school districts, professional organizations and public sector agencies.Her teaching appointments have included public schools in Pennsylvania and New York, and at Pace University and the City University of New York. She and her work have been the subject of articles in the New York Times, Teaching K-8 Magazine, Thinking: the Journal of Philosophy for Children, and on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” She has been a contributor to the Teachers College Record, The Quarterly at UC Berkeley, and Teaching magazine. Audio tapes include”Building Learning Organizations,” and “Getting Started With Portfolios,” from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Her book "Creating the Caring Classroom" is published by Scholastic Professional Books.

Related Posts

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=619110218 Liz Gumbinner

    You’ve spent five years on my blog telling me you were proud of me. Now I get to return the favor.

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t get the rest of your comment. Try again

      Sent from my iPad

    • Nletts

      Thank you for letting me walk on your shadow. You’ll never learn how much I’ve learned from you.

  • Cassieboorn

    I went to a number of protests last year and my experience was much the same. People were so kind!

    The protests–much like this one had a lot of opinions and no real leader which was criticized as well. The problem with having one leader and one objective is that it makes it easy for the government to solve.

    This stand on Wall Street is a sign of a much bigger problem. One that the government cannot fix with one change but with lots of changes.

    Thank YOU for supporting them while I am too far away to do so. 🙂