252 photos, 3 videos
This intro to the gallery of my day at #OccupyWallStreet, (#OWS), is going to be more of a blog, because of the impressions of the day but most especially because of the last person I met in Liberty Plaza, (Zucotti Park), whose photos appear near the end of this gallery. Please note that much of my blog about this day, appears in the captions and titles of many of the photos, which are best seen/read when viewing in the slideshow mode. (Click 'Slideshow' at the top right of the page. You can adjust settings, speed, etc.)
First, I want to say that my day at #OWS was one of the most memorable days of my life, filled with a feeling of peace and unity and a sense of working together, despite differing political parties, religions, ages, status of employment, race, etc., partaking in the day's events. There are no words to adequately describe what it feels like to be among every kind of American, coming together to put faces behind the numbers, seeking of their leaders and Wall Street to find their heart, common sense and moral compass in order to best serve the common good of We the People. It felt like I was in the light of spiritual warriors, if that make any sense at all.
I was particularly struck by how clean and organized the park was. There were areas for the kitchen, dish-washing w/recycled gray water, medics and supplies, sleeping bags/tarps, library, spiritual growth, clothing for the needy, media team, unions, news media areas/shooting marks, music, workshops, crafts, posters & art, etc. Teams of volunteers constantly cruised the park walkways, areas, and sidewalk surrounding the park, sweeping up any debris. People were well behaved and I saw no public intoxication nor smelled/saw any pot smoking, as some news media would have the public believe.
The day began in Washington, D.C., where I had spent the previous three days, attending the 'Take Back the American Dream' conference sponsored by Rebuild the Dream, MoveOn.org, and Democracy for America, among others. (I also participated in the 'Jobs Not Cuts' rally on Capital Hill the day prior.) I landed at JFK airport with a 10 hr. layover, figured out the trains to get into Lower Manhattan and the adventure began.
When I came out of the Fulton Street station, I walked three blocks south and ran right into the blockade at Wall Street and a group of protesters coming from the east under the Tiffany's & Co. portico, with full police escort. As I looked to the right, on Wall Street, I realized I was looking at the New York Stock Exchange and there my photo gallery begins. (I wish I'd shot the building I was standing in front of as I later learned it was the first Capital of the United States, catty-corner to the NYSE. Go figure.)
If you watch the videos in the end of the gallery, you'll see 'Christine', the woman who fell into homelessness after 9/11, her rise back up, and what she has to say about child and senior, "hunger in the shadows of Wall Street", as well as 'Marsha', the activist knitter, who makes hats, gloves, mittens, etc. for the protestors and also brought up hunger. (Neither woman knew I am a hunger fighter nor about my U.S. Hunger Issues & Solutions tours before I shot videos!) You will also see video I shot while I participated in the 'Silent Sky Project', where participants silently laid on cardboard or sleeping bags on the ground in front of the drumming circle accompanied by a flautist, beginning at 3 p.m., contemplating the sky for 30 minutes. It was as extraordinary experience. (There is also a 6 minute video of parts of my Silent Sky Project, in the end of this gallery.)
Now to tell you about Merchant Marine Major Chaplain Sylvia Jordan, (hereafter called 'Sylvia'). I was hustling east on the path, out of Liberty Plaza, 20 minutes late leaving for the trains to take me back out to JFK and my flight back to Colorado. I glanced to my left and became glued to the image of an elderly woman, in full dress uniform, sitting in a wheel chair, talking to a man kneeling on the ground, obviously taking notes. The woman sitting next to her and close to me, tapped my elbow, noticing my camera, and said something to the effect that I should learn this woman's extraordinary story, take photos, etc. I just had a feeling I should take the time to heed her advice and stop to find out what was going on.
92 year old Sylvia Jordan is an extraordinary woman and has many stories to tell of a life filled with service, taking extreme chances/measures, peacefully and in the service of the United States of America as a Merchant Marine Chaplain Major. Sylvia was the Bishop who consecrated the ground of the fallen 9/11 victims, during the 9/11 Memorial right after the tragedy. In her early years, she persevered in driving a car to the base of an inaudible Colorado peak, and climbed the peak in her SKIRTS during a bad storm, to prove a woman could do anything a man could do. Sylvia was the first person to successfully climb that peak. I wish I could have shot video of her but the sounds around her were too dynamic for her shallow voice and sometime mumbles.
Sylvia was in the park that day, because she was to become HOMELESS last Wednesday, October 12th. She was being evicted from her home/care facility and she wanted "to show what good, hard-working Americans look like, that are about to be homeless". Adjacent to where Sylvia was sitting, her proud cousin, Garland Roberts, and her long time friend, Colby Knight, had a table set up where they were selling T-shirts with images of Sylvia participating in historic events/settings. Garland and Colby were telling anyone who would listen, about Sylvia's plight while they were selling the T-shirts to raise money to keep her housed/cared for. (They also told some great stories of her life!)
92 year old Merchant Marine Chaplain Major Sylvia Jordan is a National Treasure and Hero, and yet there she was, sitting in Liberty Plaza, trying to save her home and health care, while putting a face on the 99%.
It is time to stand up and take action, not only for Sylvia, but for all the millions of suffering, disenfranchised victims of this ongoing Great Recession. Call/write/email/fax Congress, the Senate and the White House! Whatever you can do in the few minutes it takes, to literally save lives of fellow Americans. Go to www.POPVOX.com to research upcoming legislation, make your voice heard. Our elected officials actually USE the info obtained from their districts on this site. Spread the word. We the People MUST become engaged to determine our future, instead of letting our politics run us into the ground and worse.
I wish I knew what has happened to Sylvia. If anyone reading this could check on her, that would be great. Sylvia, Garland and Colby had been going to the park every day and I would assume they may still be there, if indeed Sylvia has become homeless, trying to sell T-shirts and do anything they can to help her. If you live in NYC and could check they usually sit just down below the food vendors on the south side of the park under the tree and against the concrete wall. Thanks for anything you can do to help.
Thanks for reading this long post. There was a lot to tell. <3
If you are looking for a specific photo or would like to easily scroll through the thumbnails, click on 'Show All' at the bottom of the gallery page. If you would like to see any of the three videos I shot during #OWS, they can be found in the end of the gallery.
© Kim Doyle Wille Photography