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Long Beach group to protest for social change

Palmer Luckey, Contributing Writer

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Occupy Wall Street, a protest movement intended to change America through a public demonstration of discontent with the current financial and government system, has escalated into a nationwide protest with hundreds of protest sites, including one in Long Beach, Calif.

Occupy Long Beach, a group with nearly 700 fans on Facebook, has already met for two protests, with more planned for the future.

“We are trying to even out the disparity of voices being heard in Washington, D.C.,” said Ben Fisher, a Cal State Long Beach student and one of the organizers of Occupy Long Beach. “Meaning, today, you need a lot of money to get close to a politician’s ear. Tomorrow, we hope to be heard from a distance.”

Their last meeting was staged at Bluff Park on Oct. 3, which attracted around 50 protestors. Some people showed up for the protest without being on the official signup list.

“Some people are dipping their toe in the water to see if they want to really get involved,” Fisher said.

Sharon Cotrell, CSULB alumna and one of the lead organizers, said she has been working in social justice for years, including a protest that fought against invading Iraq that gained more than 250 members.

She said she is glad that young people are finally standing up to make their voices heard.

“[It’s] so good to see young people caring — such a joy,” Cotrell said.

Cotrell stressed that, going forward, Occupy Long Beach would need to have a good organizational structure, and that they have been very successful thus far.

There are Occupy groups in nearby cities as well, such as Occupy Los Angeles and Occupy Santa Ana. More groups across the country can be found at occupytogether.org.

Another group that is hoping to gain popularity, Occupy Colleges, has a class walkout planned for Oct. 5 at noon that they hope will be a show of the feelings of college students towards the current political and financial administration.

For more information on upcoming events and dates, visit the Occupy Long Beach Facebook page.

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