‘Occupiers’ stop in New Brunswick en route to DC
Occupy Wall Street crossed the Raritan into New Brunswick last night in their march from Liberty Square in New York City to Washington, D.C.
Led by a few loudspeakers and American flags, more than 50 people marched down Albany Street, some of whom were University students who joined the movement as it entered the city.
“Whose streets? Our streets,” the crowd shouted as it blocked traffic on Albany Street and George Street.
Carol Gay, a former Democratic candidate for Congress, said the Occupy Wall Street movement finally found its voice.
“The Occupy movement to me is our salvation,” Gay said. “It’s our only hope right now. This growing movement is the 99 percent rising up.”
She spent eight days “occupying” Freedom Plaza in Washington, but felt Occupy Wall Street needed all the support it could get.
Gay bore an American “corporate greed” flag, which displayed logos like Microsoft and Apple instead of stars.
“I joined this on an anti-war and single-payer health care [platform] among others things, but those are two of main issues,” she said. “This is our only hope to battle inequality.”
She said the gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of the country is growing, and people should stand up for themselves and eliminate the inequality.
About 20 University students, some of who are part of the local Occupy New Brunswick movement, joined the march either in Highland Park or as it neared the College Avenue campus.
“In terms of economic justice in a higher educational setting, there is a lot of injustice,” said Ellen Taraschi, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
She said students should be able to go to school for free instead of graduating with unsustainable debt.
“Students are leaving with useless degrees and thousands and thousands of dollars in debt,” Taraschi said. “Our futures are in the hands of these banks that have ruined many other futures.”
A problem with the situation thousands of students find themselves in is their inability to change anything, she said.
Justin Fazzolari, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy first-year student who was part of the protest, said the Occupy movements around the nation are indications of people finally waking up.
“I think this is about waking up and realizing that there is something wrong with what we have,” Fazzolari said. “And it takes some effort to change — it can change.”
The protesters headed down Albany Street toward the New Brunswick train station where they blocked traffic for a few minutes. Afterward, they marched to Paterson Street for a brief rest.
Loudspeakers blared the protesters’ plans for food and warmth as some city residents invited those most needy into their homes.
Around 9:30 p.m., the crowd walked to the steps of Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus for a general assembly.
Francine Glaser, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said she participated in the march because it is a way to make others aware of the difficulties some people find themselves in.
“This will bring awareness to what is happening and how we can change it,” she said.
The group plans to head today to Princeton, where they will have a place to sleep and eat before they begin walking to Washington.
“To me this is invigorating, it’s energizing,” Gay said. “I’ve lost a lot of weight marching in D.C., so it was actually a good thing.”