Demonstrators ‘occupy’ the capital
Carrying a sign that read, “We are the 99 percent,” Michael Gonzalez shouted to passing motorists, “Jobs on Main Street, not Wall Street.”
He was one of about 75 demonstrators in Carson City on Saturday who joined the global Occupy Wall Street movement, protesting corporate greed and a disenfranchised public.
“It’s multifaceted,” he explained. “It’s a lack of jobs. It’s our economy. It’s deficit trading with China. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, this is a people’s issue.”
Tasha Costa had originally planned to join Reno’s protest, but decided to try to get momentum in Carson City to host its own.
“This is the capital,” she said. “It feels like we need to have a presence here even if the Legislature isn’t in session. Peaceful protest is the answer.”
She joined with Janette Dean and two others to organize the march in front of the Legislature.
Chanting into a loud speaker slogans like, “We are the tired, the hungry, the poor,” and sometimes singing, Dean worked to keep the crowd motivated.
“Many people are frustrated and angry,” she said. “They don’t know where to target their voice. We are unifying not as a party but as a movement.
“The government is listening, the president is listening. People aren’t going to stand for gridlock anymore. We want change now.”
Robert Gonzalez called on the people to make changes as well. He urged them to forsake party allegiance and “Join the 99 percent instead.”
“The problems with America transcend the blue and red paradigm,” he said. “Blaming the government is like blaming guns for murder. The government, like a gun, is a tool. Whether it is used responsibly depends on who wields it.”
He said policies during the last decade show the richest 1 percent control the government and will continue to do so, he said, as long as the electorate remains divided by party.
“If we can draw together, we can start to heal again as a country,” Gonzalez said.
Jan Gilbert joined the protest to “speak out about quality and fairness,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of us are paying more than the top 1 percent. If we are going to have a better country, we got to get that 1 percent to contribute to the economy.”
She was pleased by the turnout, she said.
“I think it’s thrilling you’ve got such a diverse group of people out here,” she said. “It’s as it should be. It’s the 99 percent.”
Costa said only about 13 people attended the planning meeting on Wednesday, and organizers were hoping for about 30 on Saturday.
“We’ve more than doubled that,” she said.
And protesters felt the support of the community, said Travis Hall, who held a sign saying, “This is for everyone.”
“Every few seconds, you hear a horn honk,” he said. “That has to say something. That’s a beautiful testament to what this is.”
According to the Occupy Together website, more than 1,300 protests were planned for Saturday in cities and towns across the U.S.
“The politicians are going to sit up and take notice because their jobs are on the line,” Costa said.
To see video from Saturday’s protest at the Legislature in Carson City, go to facebook.com/Nevada Appeal.
To learn more about the movement, visit occupytogether.org.