Before coming to Cal, protests were something I observed through television and laptop screens. I have been in college for merely three months, yet have been able to be right in the middle of two revolutionary protests. Occupy Oakland didn’t just give me a taste of the power of public unification – it changed and shaped my views of the amount of influence we all could have. Never in my life have I witnessed such a massive demonstration. I grew up in a quiet family where I was taught to keep my head down and my voice soft; rules were strictly enforced and god forbid if I decided to speak out against them. As I stood in front of Sproul Hall listening to professors and students voice their concerns about the deterioration of public education, my head was held high. I was surrounded by hundreds of my peers – strangers, yes, but united ones. It is hard to describe the feeling of empowerment and passion that resonated through the crowd. There is something enabling about knowing that my generation will the be one making decisions for the future, and that through linked arms and determination (okay, and YouTube videos), we will be able to get our ideas across and our voices heard.
“despite the many berkeley protests i've attended in the past, today i experienced something that for the first time, made me lose it. when one of the protesters fell to the ground as the police pushed in to tear down our tents, an alameda country sheriff officer cocked back his night stick, and using his own hand as a fulcrum, smashed into the back of the head of the protester. I could do nothing but scream. I wanted to cry. For a moment, none of us felt we were human. The illusion of civil political rights in America is easy to read about, but today, I, like many others, saw it first hand. I still can't make sense of today, but I can call on all of you to please support your local occupy movements.”—A traumatized Berkeley student (me), earlier today after the initial breakup of the occupy camp.
Occupy Berkeley: It Seems the Students Knew They Would Be Pepper Sprayed-Seen Laughing About it Afterward
Can you say, “totally staged?”
I think this all speaks for itself.