Denton isn’t the biggest, most important city in the world. It hosts very little corporate power, so why Occupy Denton? Sorry yall, but I’m about to get really personal.
I am not here for myself.
I am here for my parents who lost everything over 10 years ago, who work hard every day of their lives just to get by. My parents got divorced when I was 11 years old. One is transgendered and works for the AIDS Resource Center Food Pantry in Dallas, helping people who have even more difficult lives and who suffer in ways that are hard to imagine. The other is a hairdresser, struggling with diabetes and depression, working endless hours a week to make ends meet.Though they are not able to help pay for my education or support me monetarily, they give me everything they can, and they support my decision to take part in this protest. They know why I am here.
I am here for my brothers. My little brother’s school, a performing arts magnet school in Dallas, is suffering tremendously from budget cuts. When things seemed their darkest, he was accepted into their music program, and because of this school I have seen him turn from a tortured, shy kid to a confident young man, full of ever-growing wonder and potential. I can’t explain to you how much it breaks my heart to know that this school, which has given opportunities to so many talented students, regardless of socioeconomic status, may not exist in the future for kids like my little brother. The arts not only enrich lives, but they hold the potential to save them.
My twin brother, also a talented musician and student at community college, depends on Social Security and state funded services to live. My family cannot afford to support him and cannot meet all the needs for his well being, and we would be utterly lost without government help. I want you to understand the importance of this help, because without it, there is a great potential that someone that I love with my entire being, someone whom I occupied a womb with, will have to suffer tremendously. My brothers, they know why I am here.
I am here for all my friends in high school and in college that never made it to graduation, but I am here even more so for those who did graduate and realized all too harshly that the promises of higher education were myths, or worse yet, blatant lies. For all those imprisoned by debt, seemingly for nothing, you know why I am here.
I am here because I believe in freedom, real freedom, where every person is treated with respect, with the utmost empathy, and every voice has the opportunity not only to be heard but actually listened to. I believe in the grace of our common needs and desires. I will testify to human compassion as a greater force in the world than malice and greed, and I am fed up with cynics and misanthropes that see such a limited perspective of humanity. If you don’t understand, listen. Voices are crying out everywhere for change. They believe too that a different world is possible. They know why I am here.
I am here for every person that has had their ability to sustain their lifeforce reduced or outright destroyed, for every marginalized way of being, for every single one of us that has felt fear, guilt, and shame for most of our lives because the system we live in perpetuates the most thorough violence. I am here for every disempowered worker, for every parent who collapses in tears because they just cannot provide, and for every body that has been poisoned by industry’s pollutants, including that most deadly poison of indifference.
I am not here for myself. I am here for you, and everyone you love, and people that you don’t even know exist, because I know that their existence is valid and meaningful. I don’t know what will come out of this movement, but I will not stand aside or silent while I recognize injustice. You may call me naive, a stupid liberal, a dirty hippie, and I do not resent your pessimism or lack of insight. You may say that my beliefs are idealistic, unrealistic, but believing that there are not, have never been, and will never be societies where domination is vitually absent—that is unrealistic. If you understand human potential, if you have any real grasp of our history as a species, you know the possibilities, and you know why I am here.
I’m at Occupy Denton because I am doing what I can in my community. We may seem like an insignificant group here, but we are part of something much larger. I can’t speak for everyone, and I don’t want to, but this is something I really care about. If yall know me at all you know I am always the pickiest and most critical when it comes to participating in protest movements.That should say something. Real change comes slow and steady, and I am in this for the long haul.
See yall out there,