VIDEO: Protesters 'Occupy Dallas'
Published: Thursday, October 6, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
Chants of "We are the 99" filled North Pearl Street Thursday as the Occupy Wall Street movement hit the streets of Dallas.
Hundreds of protesters turned out to march from Pike Park to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas calling for change in the United States government.
Several signs from the Occupy Together campaign read, "You have the right to be silent and let money speak for you, or you can demand it."
The movement began in New York City and has spread to over 500 cities in the past three weeks.
"I believe that we are just building strength in numbers right now," Dallas resident Justin Howell said. "Once we have that, then we can have action."
Howell also explained that what the Occupy Together movement needs is organization, a clear message and most importantly, to have fun.
"People don't want to listen to an angry mob shouting," Howell said. "They want to see people having fun and exercising their First Amendment right to talk about what they want."
The Occupy Dallas protest brought out a diverse crowd.
People of all ages and from all walks of life carried signs and banded together.
"It's a true groundswell," Richardson resident Jeff Shafer said. Shafer recently graduated with a computer science degree, but has been unable to find a job in his field. He currently works as a deliveryman for Jimmy John's.
"People feel lied to and misled," Shafer said. "We've tried to work within the system, but we just end up in debt."
"I'm out here because the economy is collapsing and I need to do something about it," Alex Ogle, a TCU student, said.
Both sides of the political spectrum were in attendance as well. Followers of the Tea Party movement, Ron Paul supporters and the Dallas Young Democrats all had strong showings.
"Our government is lobbyist and big money run," Gale McCray, a longtime Fort Worth resident, said. "It doesn't matter which political party you pick, we all get it in the end. Either party, we know we're bought."
McCray was wearing a special shirt as part of his protest. It asked congressmen to wear their sponsors on their clothing like NASCAR drivers.
But even as one of the most zealous protesters, Howell does recognize that Occupy Dallas itself will not make a direct change.
"Once we have the organization and the message, we need people to follow through," Howell said. "Get involved, write your senators, congressman, mayor, whoever. We voted for them and we need to let them know that they work for us. It's our community, not theirs."
One of the biggest criticisms of the Occupy Together movement is that there is no clear message or agenda from the collective group. But participants believe this is a good start.
"Unless there is follow through, this will just be a flash in the pan," Howell said. "I feel like this is our last best chance to be heard," Shafer said. "I don't agree with all of the rhetoric, but this kind of backlash is necessary for the country to be saved."
Video shot and edited by Sydney Giesey email@example.com