Don’t hate us

What you should know about Occupy Sacramento

For more information on the local 99 percent movement, go to
Gary R. Harris is a 26-year-old single father who has owned local kiosks at the Downtown and Sunrise malls, and is a full-time member of Occupy Sacramento.

There are a few misconceptions about Occupy Sacramento that I feel the need to clear up. First off, there are not any overarching left- or right-wing political ideals endorsed. This isn’t a protest that allows for borders that small to separate us. We all agree on one thing: Economic crimes need justice. The “1 percent” is not a symbol of the rich. The 1 percent is a symbol for the very corrupt few who have been allowed to lead our country into a brick wall. This isn’t a witch hunt to scalp successful people or the wealthy.

Corporations are not evil; the problem is that there is no accountability that protects the many from the few sour apples that are evil. We are demanding accountability from the companies that sought to make gains from our communal losses.

The world has awakened to find itself, lost, scared and in grave danger. This is a call from the human spirit; nobody thinks this world is good enough. Together we can make it better.

Another misconception is that Occupy Sacramento participants are all homeless drug addicts or students living and breathing utopian ideals. That is resoundingly false. The reason people believe this is because of the sheer amount of homeless people that reside on the streets of Sacramento. There is only one homeless shelter in the downtown area (and it is always full), the police and city government have given up all hopes of helping. This is an “our” problem, as there are hundreds of homeless in the downtown area.

College students are a key part of the movement, but they make up about 10 percent of the hard-working occupiers that make up the core—we are nurses, veterans, lawyers, doctors, teachers, sales people, chefs, artists, state workers, bus drivers—the list goes on and on. The bottom line is that we are daring to dream of something better. If you think the world could be better, then you are already one of us.

Now here is a fact to be put in the open. Each day, with a few exceptions, we have fed every single homeless person in downtown Sac. The reason that there isn’t a 24-hour-a-day center for food and shelter in Sacramento is because our city council is too busy considering subsidizing a new Fuddruckers to recognize this fact. If we are allowed our constitutional 24-seven peaceful assembly, then, as a by-product, every hungry person in downtown Sacramento will be fed and given a blanket or other essential items. Also, the park is cleaner than it has been since the city removed the roses, and we have the ability to change from “wino park” to Cesar Chavez Plaza. In fact, we can make the park a beacon of safety and education in our community.

Who is the 99 percent? You are.

As I write this, another government-bailed-out-agency, American International Group, reported $4.1 billion in losses. That’s bad news for taxpayers, since the U.S. Treasury still owns a big chunk of AIG. This is the group whom we loaned $182 billion—and it was involved in more credit swaps and crooked collateralized debt obligations than your average bear.

So you can keep telling us dreamy hippies to get a job while the world economies crash, or you can offer yourself to your community and fight the rising of the tides. Come ask me why I occupy. The answer is worth a trip to I and Ninth streets.