For the last month and a half or thereabouts, I have been following the Occupy Wall Street movement very closely. When I first heard of it, it was on facebook from friend’s links as mainstream media was not yet covering it (for a variety of reasons, some more sinister than others I’m sure).
There are other blogs and news articles that very eloquently express their ideas and opinions on the movement, much better than I can, but I value writing as a way for me to process my own thoughts, so voila!
At first I thought ‘flash-in-a-pan’, but as the days went on and I discovered more about the motivating factors I realized the movement resonated. In fact, I now consider it one of the most inspiring social movements of my generation (I’m somewhere on the 20’s spectrum). I am shocked when people my age haven’t heard of it. This clearly implies they have no interest in politics, social justice or current events* (which is a complaint for another time). You can learn more about the OWS movement here.
*Side Note* Political activism is something I feel all nurses should be involved in. Whether for a specific cause (ie: my mom who is also an RN is crazy about asbestos), or for broader things such as voting for a political party with the best social/healthcare/education platform, nurses are in an incredible position to influence change for the good of the public. I mean, there are thousands of us, and for the most part we see what happens when cuts are made to healthcare for example…
Anyhow, more about the OWS movement… While Canada’s financial systems and policies differ from those of the USA, we are fast moving towards adopting ludicrous laws and bills (Omnibus Crime Bill anyone?!), and large financial institutions and corporations play a huge part in our political system in the form of lobbyists and party platform donations. I feel that radical change is needed, so when the OWS movement began spreading globally, I was thrilled when I discovered a branch in my city. So yesterday I hopped on my bike and went to check it out. I found a public kitchen feeding anyone who asked, tents set up amongst trees, people talking and laughing, inspirational signs all bringing attention to a variety of issues, from Palestine to climate change to the Tar Sands. Some people bemoan the fact that the movement has no ‘real direction’. I say those people are not paying close enough attention. The movement is about creating social change, and the uniting idea seems to be “People before Profits”. The rest is still falling into place. Relax, we’re working on it 🙂
At the volunteer station, I discovered they were in desperate need of medical staff. The nights are falling below zero now so hypothermia is a risk, and many of the city’s homeless have taken shelter in the park so along come some substance use and mental health issues often associated with that population of folks. I told them I was an ICU nurse and would love to volunteer some hours as a medic on my days off. They were thrilled and I was thrilled with the thought of reorganizing the medical tent 🙂 (and getting to know the passionate individuals involved with the movement, of course!)
So, my first shift is this Saturday. So exciting!
If you are curious how you can be involved, even just a little bit, here are 11 Simple Ways to Support the Occupy Wall Street Movement Without Sleeping in a Park
PS, today and tomorrow I have been doing my ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support). Whoa intense! I’ll write more on that when I’m done.