In recent months there has been an occupy movement that is sweeping our nation and has now gone global. It has been said that the movement is trying to bring focus on the human side and how our current policies are killing the very people that keep our economy thriving, the middle class, better known as the 99%, not the 1%.
It has been argued that the 1% worked hard for their dollars and how is it greed to want to keep what they have earned. There is a growing number of the population that believes that the elite earned that money unethically and used their positions of power to modify a nation’s laws in order to protect their greed.
The ones who believe they are a part of that 99% claim they are not lazy people looking for hand outs as some might like to impress. They are everyday people who have been loyal workers for numerous years at large companies who, instead of being rewarded for their performance, have been forced to accept lower pay in order to keep their positions, while prices of groceries, their rent or mortgages continue to rise. All the while the Wall Street executives continue to go home with millions in bonus money in addition to their regular salaries. The frustration stems from the employees that did the work they were told to do while profits plummeted. They are punished while the policy makers still reap their normal benefits.
I had an opportunity to speak with one of the voices in the crowd. Chadwick Stokes decided to exercise his First Amendment rights as a citizen to peacefully assemble and protest. He is using his music as a tool to have his voice heard.
I asked him how he felt his music was making an impact on his community, He said, “It is amazing when you hear from folks that you had an affect on first hand. When we get letters from people who would say thanks to us making them aware they are now trying to make a change themselves. This is when you realize one voice can make a huge impact for positive change”.
He had attended the occupy movement in Providence as well as the one in Burlington. He was then asked to perform in his home base at Occupy Boston. There he sang and entertained a tired crowd gathered in the cold and listened to speakers that think the current policies are destroying the very fabric of our country.
Chadwick grew up on a farm in Massachusetts in a community that catered to creativity. He said he was surrounded by music his whole life. He went traveling and lived a year in Zimbabwe, there he learned to appreciate the trials of people outside of his comfort zone. He then created an organization called, “Calling all Crows”. Which helps supply food to food banks and package meals for families in need. The occupy movement is only one thing of many that he has had firsthand involvement.
He has a passion to help and bring awareness to things our media may not cover. He had done work for the situation in Sudan and tried to educate the public to what was taking place abroad. He also tried to raise awareness of the Troy Davis case. The young man that was sentenced to death back in 1991 and had always maintained his innocence all the way to the moment of his execution this past September. It seems Chadwick is always in the thick of controversial subjects and fights hard for what he believes.
I asked him what this occupy movement meant to him and he replied, “There is such a current of corruption being filtered through that 1% and there are a bunch of people standing up and saying we’re not going to take it anymore. I think it is beautiful. It blows my mind how people have moved into a park and planted their feet until they make a change. This is democracy at its finest”.[youtube xOtUGux0_v8 nolink]
He continued, “The occupy movement has become so broad. It is not only about one particular injustice. It is about a student with $25,000 in student loans that can’t pay for it and a homeowner who has been foreclosed on. It is about someone with thousands of dollars in medical bills with no insurance. It is about a large majority suffering under the hands of a small selfish group who are single handedly destroying the American dream. As a traveling musician I’ve seen numerous towns that have dwindled to nothing; it is mind blowing how difficult it is for the average person to stay a float”.
It was enlightening for me to speak with an active participant. Often times people complain but rarely put their money where their mouth is. The fact that Chadwick is using his musical talent to creatively make a positive change is an added bonus. So whether you agree with what is taking place or not, you have to admire the gumption of those out there fighting for what they think is right.
As Chadwick Stokes said, “I hope the spirit of this occupy movement creates a better representation of the 99% in Washington”.
In order to accomplish this, we as a people need to pay attention to the policy makers and vote in the politicians that have the nations best interest at heart. In today’s age we cannot take things at face value. We have to dig through the rhetoric to make sure what a politician promises is exactly what they are doing.
It is easy to speak words that appeases the masses but not always as easy to follow through. It is our job as citizens to make sure we are being fed the truth not a ramble of what they think we want to hear. Do not always rely on our media as the only source of information, do your homework and vote your conscience.