Monday, December 5, 2011

Visiting with the Occupiers and Education Paradigms

So for those of you who are unaware, one of my recent projects has been working with a Teen Media project at Pittsburgh's WYEP radio station. This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Occupy Pittsburgh movement with this group.

So along with the 13 other mediamakers (I need to come up with something better...), I took a PAT bus ride to downtown from the South Side. We walked a block or so until we reached the Occupy movement across the street from the Creche and the USX tower and were given some field recorders and groups to talk to the occupiers about who they were and what they stood for.

After wandering around the encampment around this large bulletin-board style fence around a fountain, it was quite clear that this group was angry with what was happening with America, and were willing to stay indefinitely. It kind of reminded me of a boy scout tenting excursion. So we decided to walk up to a guy and identify ourselves as media people from WYEP. He had a lot to talk about. He was a man who had taken odd jobs: moving boxes, a registered massage therapist, before joining this movement.

When asked if he thought that this movement would help any job prospects when I (or in this case, the girl asking the questions) graduate college, he laughed. He said that he wished that he could say so, but he was being a realist. He thinks that change will come out of this, but nothing immediate.

We also asked what the reactions the encampment had gotten. He said it was mainly positive. He mentioned a time (as did two other protesters) where there had been a few people about four weeks ago that had screamed "GET A JOB" out the window by passing at a high rate of speed, to suggest that they might have been drunk. Others said that they'd join, but they had to work. To be honest, some of the protesters do have jobs (See Below).

Two other protesters talked to us about their thoughts. The one man described himself as "Underemployed." They mainly shared the same views as the first man, but had an interesting perspective coming back and forth from a job (I think the one said he was laid off, but I am not sure).

Afterward, we talked about what we had seen, and who we had talked to. One of the common misconceptions that media outlets had given us was that this was a band of angry homeless people. They were people who wanted the top 1%  of Americans (the rich) to take responsibility and help those below us. They wanted solidarity which, although they have separate political views, we all kind of want.

Later during that discussion we talked about how this ties into relation with education. Education impacts all of us as teenagers, and quite frankly everyone. Alexa (coordinator) pulled up a video that I put up on my share link site thingy (or at which talked about how education affects GDP, the future, the economy, politics, etc.

For more info on Occupy Pittsburgh, check out
For more on my adventures at WYEP, I am going to start posting those into a tag labeled "WYEP Teen Center" find it on the sidebar.

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