2

The following is a guest post by Hannah, who was arrested this October on Brooklyn Bridge while taking part in Occupy Wall Street. The following is her account of her experience with racial profiling and the NYPD. This is a story that really needs to be shared. Above are two of her photos from that day. Hannah can be followed on Tumblr.

***

Let me preface this by explaining that I am a New York-born U.S. citizen. My family, however, comes from Syria, and as part of my Muslim identity I choose to cover my hair. I have been wearing a hijab - the Islamic word for head-covering - for over six years. I am currently a sophomore at an undergraduate institution. On October 1st, 2011, I left my college in upstate New York and travelled with a few friends down to Manhattan to visit Zuccotti Park and learn more about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

You may have heard from other sources how the events of this day played out. NYPD allowed protestors to march on the Brooklyn Bridge, and then trapped over 800 of us on the Bridge for almost two hours by blocking off the Brooklyn and Manhattan exits. They then began to systematically arrest every single person on the Bridge. 

I was one of the very last people to be arrested. When the police finally reached me and my friends, we did not resist the arrest. We followed their orders and separated by gender, with boys lining up on one side of the Bridge and girls on the other. We allowed them to look through our bags and search our pockets. We did not object when they put handcuffs on us. We were as peaceful as we could possibly be.

But before the handcuffs were put on me a man came up to me, clamped his hand down on my shoulder, and led me away from everyone else. He was wearing a long black trench coat. This detail sounds comically villainous, but I specifically recall it because it worried me that he was not wearing a police uniform. The first thing he said to me was that he was “not a cop”. I knew immediately that these were not reassuring words to hear, and later my suspicions were confirmed when my lawyers told me that this likely meant he was an FBI agent. This man isolated me from my friends to interrogate me, threaten me, and attempt to intimidate me into answering his questions, which were all along the lines of, “Who are you and what are you doing on the Bridge?” His manner made it clear he assumed that I was on the Bridge for a reason other than participating in a peaceful protest. I told him several times that I was exercising my right to remain silent, and he became more aggressive. He finally shouted to the other cops, “This one’s a keeper!” 

After this, I was handcuffed along with the last few people on the Bridge and herded onto a Bee-Line bus. We were on the bus for about an hour, even though the jail we ended up being taken to was only a few blocks away. The cops stopped to get coffee. They laughed and joked amongst themselves. They repeatedly referred to us as “bodies”. Not arrestees, not detainees, not perps, not protestors, not even suspects. “Bodies.”

In the jail, I cooperated very willingly when they asked for my driver’s license and other information. I handed over my belongings, which included a backpack and a raincoat. Then, my arresting officer told me I had to remove my hijab. I was not shocked. The thought that they might try to force me to take off my headscarf had just crossed my mind minutes earlier, and I was prepared to refuse. I explained that I wear it for religious reasons, and asked if her demand was really necessary. My arresting officer called over another officer, one who I believe had a higher position than the first one did. This second officer told me I had to remove my hijab because it was a “security issue”. I could choke someone or commit suicide with the scarf, I was told. I argued that the same could be said for a pair of pants, anyone could take their jeans off and wrap the legs around someone’s throat and hurt them. The cop’s dismissive response was, “Yeah, but no one’s going to take off their pants.”

Allow me to break this down for you. The flimsy excuse that I was at risk of committing suicide with my scarf is ludicrous. This officer did not know a single thing about me. I doubt she even knew my name. The only thing she knew about me was that I had been arrested at a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge. To me, it is apparent that she simply looked at me, registered that I have tan skin and a head-covering that is associated with Muslim women, and interpreted this to mean that I was a potential threat. 

Being forced to remove my headscarf in that jail was probably one of the most humiliating experiences I’ve ever had. I felt incredibly degraded and disrespected. After they led me down to my cell and locked me in with four other girls, I broke down and started crying. It took me a few minutes for me to explain to the other girls that I wasn’t crying about being arrested, but rather because of the way I had just been treated. 

I travel frequently. I am used to being singled out by airport security and patted down for no particular reason, or having my carry-on bags rummaged through. But to experience this kind of treatment in my home state, at the hands of people who are supposed to protect and defend innocent people, was a huge blow to me. 

If you think the Occupy Wall Street movement is simply about fighting economic disparity in this country, you’re not getting to the heart of the issue. To me, this has become a civil rights issue. This is a demand to be treated as more than just “bodies”, but as citizens who have a right to speak out against wrongdoing – whether it is on Wall Street, in banks all over the country, in the government, on college campuses, or, for me, in jail being treated like a threat because of my ethnicity and religion.

This movement has the potential to develop into an extraordinarily significant moment in U.S. history, and I for one – regardless of my negative experience – intend to continue supporting it.

9

It’s the anniversary of the Occupy movement, a movement which I made an effort to document over the course of this year through photography submissions from people who had witnessed or participated in rallies and protests across the US (and even across the pond, I received a few Occupy Londons, an Occupy Bristol, and even an Occupy Dublin). Above are just a handful of the photographs I collected from people. If you want to see the full collection, it’s housed here on The Political Notebook and also here on Pinterest

Here are some longreads, old and new, on Occupy, its origins and its future.

Photos: [1] Occupy Philadelphia Day 59. Eviction protests. Michael Albany. [2] Zuccotti Park. Fall 2011. Jack Massey. [3] UC Davis. Pepper spray cop. Brian Nguyen. [4] Occupy London, October 2011. Tahlia Hein. [5] Zuccotti, Fall 2011. Luis Antonio Thompson. [6] Zuccotti, Fall 2011. Bianca Farrow. [7] NYC, Fall 2011. Ceridwyn Asher. [8] Occupy Dallas, Fall 2011. Chris Wang. [9] Occupy London, November 30th. Allan Shaw.

2

Occupy Philadelphia. These photos were taken by Michael Albany at Occupy Philly’s protest against backdoor anti-abortion legislation and in support of women’s healthcare rights on January 17th.

Check out Michael’s official website and his Tumblr!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs…) Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

5

I Could Lose My Job For Having a Voice.” A familiar face appeared in my Occupy submissions pile — the protester with money taped over his mouth whose face was well recognized in conjunction with Occupy Wall Street and Zuccotti protests for a time back in the fall. He even graced the cover The Economist's October 22nd “Rage against the machine” issue. These protest sign and rally photos were taken by Jack Massey at four separate trips to Occupy protests in Zuccotti park over the course of last fall.

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs…) Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

4

UC Davis. Students wait outside Chancellor Katehi’s press conference yesterday to call for her resignation after police pepper sprayed and arrested protesters on campus on Friday. They lined the walkway to create a “walk of shame” when she emerged, celebrating after she drove away. Brian Nguyen, photographer for UC Davis’s newspaper The Aggie, has once again offered his photography for publication here on The Political Notebook.

Visit his Flickr page and his Tumblr.

3

Occupy Philadelphia Day 59 (Post-Eviction Protests). These photos were taken and submitted by Michael Albany, a photographer and Occupier whose work has been frequently featured here on The Political Notebook.

Visit Michael’s official website and follow him on Tumblr!

View the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwideEmail me, send me a message in my ask box, or tweet me a link to your photos to submit and keep it going! 

#OccupyWallStreet: “The Power of the People is Stronger than the People in Power.”

Protest sign photo taken and submitted by student activist Angela Aguirre, who can be followed here on Tumblr!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

5

"Capitalism is Crisis." These are a collection of photos of some inventive and interesting protest signs from Occupy London near St. Paul’s Cathedral this past October. Occupy Londoners were evicted from that area just recently. These were taken by Tahlia Hein on a visit to London, and according to her, protest signs like these absolutely covered the place. Her personal favorite is the one that reads “Canary Whorf is Mordor.”

Follow Tahlia’s (highly recommended) Tumblr here!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs…) Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

Occupy Wall Street: "Too small to fail."

Photo taken by Stephen Downes. Check out his website and his Flickr page.

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs…) Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

5

Occupy Raleigh. Here are a collection of photographs taken by Julie Bocchino at an Occupy Raleigh event at the capitol building. There are some great protest signs in here (“Hey Congress, the jobs aren’t in my uterus!”).

You can follow Julie here on Tumblr and check out more of her photography on Flickr!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs, or graffiti…) Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

4

#OccupyWallStreet. A collection of protest sign photos, some of them taken on November 17th during the march from Union Square to Foley Square (1, 2 and 4), and the other was taken this Saturday in Duarte Park. Photographed and submitted by Gregory Muenzen.

You can follow Gregory here on Tumblr.

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwideEmail me, send me a message in my ask box, or tweet me a link to your photos to submit and keep it going! 

Talking about "Rape as a Men's Issue" at Occupy Philly

Michael Albany, a member of Occupy Philly’s Safety Team and who has been regularly contributing photography of the protests to The Political Notebook, has started putting together a training program for men to work on rape prevention and awareness

Here’s his intro:

Women live with the knowledge that they are at high risk to be raped. Unlike men, they must always take into account what the risk factors are in any activity they plan. Women are often admonished to take precautions in their day-to-day lives. Why should the responsibility for rape prevention hinge on factors such as whether or not women park in well lit areas, walk with the buddy system or lock car doors? The truth is, the responsibility for rape PREVENTION belongs to men! Because if rape is to stop, it MUST begin with men. All men. Not just the few who become rapists, but also with every man we know. 

He’s posted what he has so far in full here on his Tumblr and is actively seeking feedback for this excellent idea. 

Do You Feel It Trickle Down? A sassy and pointed sign from a protest in or near Zuccotti Park during one of last fall’s Occupy gatherings. 

Taken by Bianca Farrow. Follow her here on Tumblr

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs, or graffiti…) I also have compiled an archive of all my posted submissions to this project on a single Pinterest board for your viewing convenience. Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!


4

#OccupyLondon. These photographs are of the November 30th strike action in London, and were taken by Allan Shaw who spent the day protesting with Occupy Londoners. These are some photos of a large march from St. Paul’s Cathedral and one of the Occupy London Stock Exchange group in front of the Bank of England.

You can follow Allan here on Tumblr!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. Email me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com, send me feedback or an inquiry in my ask box, or tweet me to submit and keep it going! 

3

Occupy Galway. These photos were snapped by Antaine Ó Cáthain on his way past the Occupy encampment in Eyre Square in western Ireland’s main city.

You can follow Antaine here on Tumblr!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. Email me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com, send me feedback or an inquiry in my ask box, or tweet me to submit and keep it going! 

Workers of the World Unite Against War. A May Day protest photo submission from Bryant Park in Manhattan. Taken by a friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous.

And all you May Day protesters and spectators… please don’t forget to send any of your photos of today’s events my way.

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. I have also compiled an archive of all my posted submissions to this project on a single Pinterest board for your viewing convenience. Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

3

Occupy Dublin. Occupy Dame Street is the Occupy movement’s Dublin branch, and they have an encampment in a square outside the Irish Central Bank. Their encampment is also conveniently located near Leinster House (where the parliament sits) and Trinity College. 

These photos were taken and submitted by Anthony Keane. Check out his Tumblr here!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs…) Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

6

Occupy Dallas. These photos were taken by Chris Wang, a staff photographer for the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Dallas, on the first day of protests there: October 6th, 2011. The protesters marched on the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. 

Enlarge each of them to get a good look at some of the protest signs. One reads “Hello Goliath, we’re David,” and another states “I won’t believe corporations are people until Rick Perry executes one.”

Check out Chris’s Flickr page and follow him on Tumblr!

You can view the rest of The Political Notebook’s project to gather photography, documentation and experiences from the OWS movements nationwide. (I love photos of protest signs, or graffiti…) Check out the Call for Submissions page and email your photos to me at torierosedeghett@gmail.com!

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video