Collected Stories from 10/15/11 courtesy of Susan

The People’s Stories – October 15, 2011
Volume 1:

I am here because I wanted to protest. Ha-ha. I am the 99%.


I am so glad for this action. Greensboro needs more democratic outdoor spaces to have un-policed activities. We should do this “occupy” all over Greensboro so that people can see how many different kinds of people the city is made of.  I salute us!


As more join the struggle, unknowingly, unwantingly, we find a solace in the journey. Our collective misfortunes is our united strength. With our voices, our compassion, and our hearts we CAN make sure the people and the soul of our country, can once again flourish… WE HAVE THE POWER. COMPASSION FOR 100%.

I am an artist with a Master’s in Fine Arts. Altruistically I followed higher education and now have huge debts that are in forbearance and accumulating interest. I make my money as a self- employed carpenter. I am thankful that my basic needs are being met but I kind of expected more out of my education.


I was homeless and unemployed for a year and a half. I have gone weeks without eating. I am the 99%.


I am a teacher and a student. While tuition rises every year, my pay remains the same. Meanwhile the dean voted to give herself a raise. I know I am lucky that my husband and I are both work and don’t have to worry too much about money. We haven’t had a vacation in forever, could never afford children and I see my student’s families struggling to get by. We are the 99%.


Many libertarians and conservatives say we should vote and not act for our own interests. Well, I am a student. I work part-time. I hate corruption. I am the 99% and voting for the interests of the 99%. All the 99%.


Educate yourself. Educate your children. Educate all. We were here for all. WTSU BAM

I am a post-graduate who is currently unable to obtain that career that was mythically there for me at the end of my college experience.  Through my desires and historical interests I know that my dead end or lucky break is subjective or co-circumstance.  Capitalism is our objective social relationship we all live with and it operates against our interests as workers. I am for worker’s power.

I am here to support this movement to create change that will ultimately lead to a move from dominator-model society to a partnership-model society. Working together instead of competing and dominating mean everybody wins.

End of volume I.

Volume 2


2 BA degrees and a minor, 1 associate of arts degree, worked my way thru college as a waitress. The summer of 1998 I began waitressing, being paid $2.13 an hour by Cracker Barrel. Now, in 2011, I am still waitressing, hoping to more up to management because I cannot find a job in my field. 13 years later, pay for a waitress is still $2.13/hour!!! Out of my tips, I have a percentage taken out for the hosts and the to-go person. The corporate restaurants (w/ the exception of Cracker Barrel) do not want to have to pay chashiers minimum wage, or bus boys minimum wage – so these jobs are now cut and the waitresses are now the cashiers, busboys, and waitress – all the while our wages are still $2.13/hr!


Rich husband found another woman and left me. House burned. Husband left me to live in the streets. He is a powerful and rich man. Has now resorted to physical violence to intimidate me as not to give me half of insurance money. My name is on title also. The title at one time disappeared for 3 months. I ‘m homeless, broke and live like a gypsy while he lives in luxury.


I’m going to be a teacher and our education system sucks. I am about to graduate and I am terrified as to the state of things but that fear is only motivation for change. I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.


I am a refugee from Zimbabwe in Africa. When I was considered for resettlement in the U.S.A. sometime late last year I was elated because this meant escaping from undemocratic practices I was exposed to while widening social and economic opportunities. Being a teacher by profession, I hoped for better life out here. However, little did I know that I was born to suffer because all hopes have failed owing to economic difficulties I am subjected to. On arrival I got my academic credentials evaluated and I was lucky to be attested to a holder of a Bachelor of elementary Degree. However, my happiness was short-lived owing to some other hurdles I have to jump before I become a teacher. I have to pass a Praxis Test for teacher licensor which is proving difficult owing to cultural and dialectical issues. As I speak I am a substitute teacher for the Guilford County Schools but face a lot of challenges still. I often fail to go to work because I cannot bring a car for transportation to schools because I am lowly paid. I wish there was a provision for empowering refugees financially so that we may adjust well to our host country. We fail to pay bills and we are frequently served with eviction notices, which further traumatizes us.


As a young person in high school I found corporate worlds unbearable and unlivable. I was astonished that so many in our world had resigned to a life of 9-5, which to me is not a life. Therefore, I decided to make a life outdoors by double majoring in business of enviro studies to one day found my own tour guiding business. As a senior and soon to be graduate (Dec. 2011), I have realized that tour guiding and the industry in general are more or less a corporate world with a different name. I really love the outdoors but have a hard time believing I can be in the outdoors constantly and avoid corporate greed, hoarding of money from superiors, and petty theft that create a bigger void between corporate worlds  and a job that breeds love and happiness.


As a full time student who has yet to see the real world, I feel wholly unqualified to share “my story.” Yet, I am here because of my grandfather. For 40+ years, this man has worked full time to support a family and to put food on the table. Labeled one of the “rich,” a full 50% of his income goes to support the government and its god-awful programs. Why can’t people just get to work? Why not major in something productive, and get a job in the field? Why not thrive in America, and not leech off of the system? I am a part of the real “99%” – the 99% who is fed up with mob rule taking precedence over true democratic governance. To hell with protesting – go find a damned job!


Five years ago my main ambition was to join a graduate program where I could contribute to clinical research. This turned out to be impossible with the resources I had at my disposal. Four years ago my main ambition was to join a lab as an entry-level research assistant, to get into a graduate program. This turned out to be impossible with the resources I had at my disposal. Three years ago my ambition was to save up enough to get back into school as an undergraduate. This turned out to be just barely possible. I am now one injury away from homelessness. I have borrowed as much as I am allowed to. My ambitions have not changed, but they have been delayed into the foreseeable future. My immediate ambition now is to become as employable as possible while making what I can at Jimmy Johns. My ambition is to not be a burden on my friends and family. In five years my immediate goals have gone from contributing to research to avoiding charity. I am 26 years old. I am the 99%.


End of volume 2.

Volume 3


My husband and I are struggling graduate students with more than $30,000 in student loans. We also have a 2 year old son who we hope will grow up with better opportunities for educational access than we’ve had.


My grandparents just paid off my student loans, over 150,000 (how did that happen? Why, I should be grateful), so that I could come out with a Master’s in Architecture. In 2008 I found a job without a problem. My husband and I lived cheap. He’s a contractor and BVAS forced into subcontracting or self employed at the same time I was. We still couldn’t make the bills and pay loans/cc debt. In 2009 I was laid off and a big construction company bought the building we were living in – an apartment complex and microcosm of Durham. (Capstone Corp). A supportive community. We all had to leave b/c they decided it should be student housing. There’s a lot of incongruity in life, my life. I have not found another “permanent” full-time job in my field in so long that my degree hardly matters. I am generally unemployable and as only an intern, without the required experience to practice blah blah blah. My husband and I have found a nice house to rent that, most of the time is in our budget, now that we’ve reduced our expenses. We still have +10,000 in CC debt (paying mins) + 100,000 in my husband’s student debt, hospital bills. We have taken advantage of all the county of Durham Health System has to offer. At times I feel free. I walk dogs for a living. I have a beautiful garden and time to make things which is what I do best. At times I feel suffocated, unable to see an end to the trap constructed from lack of funds. My husband and I have decided not to have children b/c we can’t afford it.


I am privileged enough to not be affected by the constant waves of money exploitation, which is why I am here. This is an issue that has and will affect all of us forever. We must unite, no matter who we are, what we do, where we live, what school we have attended, or which job we have. Unite, come together and realize that nothing separates us except numbers on a screen.


I’m skeptical. I’m sure it’s because I’m white and constantly in reflection on my position in society trying to obstruct my view of entitlement and innocence. But here, I can’t help but wonder and question the holds the westernized view has placed on Wall Street. The democratic style of rally seeks comfort into the system put in place. White run and ruled, friendly smiles of police infiltrate this happy gathering of entitled protestors. Occupy Wall Street reminds me of realizing the true intentions of the civil War. White people trying to rule other white people, people of color only play out as their pawns. Isn’t it stranger that A&T homecoming is this same weekend? I can’t help but wonder at the coincidence. Occupy your own consciousness, question your identity and humble your heart.


I am a handyman, cashier, tutor and college professor, part-time. I work between forty and sixty hours a week and continue to struggle with paying back the student loans that have allowed me to complete my education. I suppose I could have chosen to not complete my education with loans, but that would have meant not completing my education. My landlord has not received rent from me for two years. He knows this, and has not kicked me out on the street. While I cannot say with certainty why he has not evicted me, I suspect it is because he is a kind man who believes in people over profit. I am now and will always be grateful to him.


End of Volume 3.

Volume 4


When I was living abroad, I went to the dentist because I had a sensitive tooth. I was certain that I needed a filling. The dentist looked at the tooth. He poked it, put chemicals on it, and applied heat to it to see if it was sensitive enough to be a cavity. After 10 minutes of this, he told me that it didn’t seem to be a cavity. I was relieved, but also frustrated that I’d have to pay for a visit that I didn’t need. I mean, in the U.S., you have to pay $50 just to read the waiting room magazines.  “I’m sorry I wasted your time,” I said, “how much do I owe you?” The dentist looked at me like I was slow or something. “But I didn’t do anything,” he said as he showed me out the door. If you can go to the dentist in other countries and not pay an arm and a leg for the most minor procedures, why not in this country?


I live in a collective house. My housemate and I have survived by pooling resources, fixing each other’s cars, etc. But I know so many people with health problems who are being bankrupted by our healthcare “system.” Something’s got to be done if we’re going to have a society where people don’t live in fear, financial or otherwise.


Creation, The opposite of war. Why we can’t wait for change to consume us. Money, the white man’s deity may soon buy our motivation, selling passion for cheap smiles of defeat. We must transform the system in its entirety. Succumb to the humble beginnings of humanity, self- love and creation.


End of Volume 4.
End of stories.