Transitioning & Occupy Wall Street

It has been four months since relocating to the concrete jungle. I love the bright lights and the city never sleeps. I am making good contacts and building a network. Things are moving along, not as fast as I had hoped but they are progressing. In the past four months, I realized that I needed to update some skills to make myself more marketable in the new field I am transitioning to. I was not exactly thrilled about returning to “school,” but in order to maximize my salary potential it is necessary. So I am taking a certificate course. The contacts I am meeting in the class alone are worth the cost of the class. My goal in coming to NYC was to dust off old ambitions and be a happier person. I wanted to wake up in the morning and love my job. When you hit the midway point of your life, it causes you to look back and figure out what you want to happen in the latter half. Here I stand at a crossroad. What I was doing the past ten years not as satisfying as I had hoped and actually more depressing than this cynic anticipated. I needed a change and hope for something better. Like Job, I want my latter half of life to be better than my early years.

That longing for the hope of something better is what is driving the young people protesting in Occupy Wall Street. In an earlier blog, American Apathy, I asked where were the protests?  Finally, an answer. I know critics are vilifying the young people. However, what are the critics doing? Nothing. These young people are hijacked in political debates, candidates claiming to do things to secure “our children’s future.” Well, the future is looking around and realizing they are being lied to and taken for a ride. I another blog, Frustration, about how the American dream of work hard, study hard is no longer attainable despite best efforts. These young protesters worked and studied hard, went into debt. Remember when we were told student loans were good debt? Now, there is nothing waiting for them upon graduation. Their future rightly appears hopeless.

Last week, I listened to NPR and they were talking about the practical effects of Greece’s austerity measures on the middle class. An educated woman said affording necessities is a struggle. Schools are asking parents to supply not only paper and pencils, but toilet paper and cleaning supplies because the school laid off maintenance staff. A manager of the suicide hotline said suicides skyrocketed among males 35-60. He stated that “people die emotionally when there is no hope for their future.” I think his statement sums up the feelings of the young protesters of Occupy Wall Street. If there is no hope for their future, there is no hope for America. You don’t have to like or love their lack of organization, but I support them fully. In the words of Bob Marley, “Get up stand up for your rights!  Don’t give up the fight!” Middle class older Americans sat idle while our politicians played partisan politics over the deficit. Now the people with the most to lose are saying enough is enough. There was an Arab Spring, a European summer, thank goodness for the American Fall!

This weekend I saw Broadway’s MountainTop with Samuel Jackson and Angela Basset. The theme is pass on the baton. Occupy Wall Street is not organized like the Civil Rights or War Movement of the 60s. This movement reflects their generation of twitter and facebook to mobilize nationwide. I am not surprised it happened here in NYC – things happen here. I am disappointed that in Chicago (my hometown), traders decided to put “We Are the 1%” in the windows to mock the protesters.  May karma reward them quickly for their callous indifference to the plight of humanity that they had a hand in causing.

Occupy Wall Street encourages me.  It may not look pretty, but thank goodness those young people are showing what democracy is supposed to look like.

Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.