Students ‘occupy’ Pittsburg
Carl Bachus | Collegio Reporter
About 15 students and Pittsburg residents met at Russ Hall on Wednesday afternoon to begin their first march in sympathy with the Occupy Wall Street movement spreading throughout the country.
Occupy (Wall Street), a social movement protesting corruption and financial inequality, has inspired similar protests in over 70 cities and is making its way to Pittsburg. The group ended its march at the Bank of America building on Broadway.
Their first meeting on Monday night was held to plan ways to protest.
The meeting was also streamed live on the Internet through Facebook, a popular tactic that the Occupy movement uses to spread its message.
“We created a Facebook group,” said Larry Fleury, senior in English and co-founder of Occupy Pitt, “within 24 hours, we had hundreds of people liking it.” According to Fleury, the Facebook group has more than 250 members and counting.
The speakers ranged from debt-phobic students to people in the community who have found themselves unemployed.
The open forum format also invited the members to share ideas on affiliation, fundraising and their first protest.
“We have some interesting ideas to differentiate ourselves from the other ‘Occupy’ cities,” said Wynn Shepard, Occupy Pitt’s other co-founder. Suggestions regarding public relations took up much of the discussion, due to the portrayal of the “Occupants” as “anarchists” and “hippies looking for handouts” in the media.
“We want to bring attention to what’s happening on Wall Street right now,” said Fleury. The Occupy Wall Street protest, originally conceived by Canadian activist company Adbusters, has garnered a vast amount of media attention due to reports of police brutality, comparisons to the Tea Party movement, a large number of detractors and supporters. In response, similar Occupy protests have been created in Los Angeles, Denver, Wichita, Kansas City, and even London all bearing the same phrase: “We are the 99%.”
Prospective members can find Occupy Pitt on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @occupypittsburg.