Occupy Omaha protesters march against “corporate greed”
October 15th, 2011
Omaha, NE – Hundreds of people marched through downtown Omaha this morning, in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who have rallied since mid-September in New York against what they call â€œcorporate greed.â€
Omahaâ€™s crowd was a diverse mix of young and old, black, white and brown. And, like others whoâ€™ve rallied in solidarity protests around the country, their reasons for hitting the streets were varied.
Ian Carrier of Omaha said he came out in support of â€œpeace and loveâ€ and to urge government to hold corporations accountable. â€œWeâ€™ve handed our elections to corporations, and it needs to stop,â€ he said.
Others called for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others held signs that read â€œSave our Jobsâ€ and â€œEnd Class Warfare.â€
Chelsea Richardson said she graduated with her Bachelorâ€™s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln last year, and hasnâ€™t been able to find a job. The recession has impacted her and people around her, she said. â€œIâ€™ve met so many people who, just short of age of retirement, are losing their jobs, and arenâ€™t able to find anything anywhere, not to mention the economic situation of so many people in this country for years and years, not just the recession.â€
â€œIt seems like things are in shambles,â€ she said, â€œso Iâ€™m hoping we can pull together and put our heads together and figure out what to do.â€
Veronica Contreras said she came out to show the diversity of the protesters. â€œThereâ€™s this stigma that people protesting donâ€™t have jobs, and that weâ€™re just hippies and that we have a political agenda, and itâ€™s not about that,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s about everyone in the community coming together. We all have different religious beliefs, different political beliefs, different stances on everything, but the one thing that weâ€™re united on is that we have a corrupt government, and we need change.â€
Felina Kavi marched with her five-year-old daughter Alyrica, who held up her own sign that read â€œI believe in a 100% future,â€ a reference to the main message of the Occupy protests: that government should not reflect the wealthiest one percent of the population, and that the protesters make up the 99 percent whose voices are ignored.
Her eyes welling with tears, Kavi said of her daughter, â€œSheâ€™s five years old, and she believes when she grows up, everythingâ€™s going to be fine.â€
â€œWe can see how things arenâ€™t working now and if it continues like this, itâ€™s not going to be good for her generation,â€ Kavi said. â€œI donâ€™t want her to have to clean up our mess, so I think itâ€™s important that we take care of it now.â€ Kavi said the protests are the beginning of a â€œrevolution.â€
A few police cars lined the streets, and two mounted police officers stood by and kept watch. But the protest was peaceful, and no arrests were reported.
Bruce Baumann led the protesters, with bullhorn in hand, from outside City Hall to the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, and then through the Old Market. But, similarly to other â€œOccupyâ€ protests, Baumann insisted he is not an organizer, or leader of the group.
â€œThereâ€™s no leaders in this movement at all,â€ he said. â€œEach person brings something to the table. And my skill is leadership, so I just wanted to come out here with my bull horn. It wasnâ€™t really planned at all.â€
Baumann says the protesters will return to the streets next Saturday, and hope to begin the â€œoccupyâ€ stage of the protest soon.