Supporting, Informing & Connecting People in Foreclosure
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Despite the stormy weather, hundreds of people showed up at Bryant Park in Lake Worth and Stranahan Park in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday to add their voices to the grass-roots chorus echoing from protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement in recent weeks.
Dispensing with the traditional organizational structure, this South Florida Occupy gathering had no leaders, no spokespeople, no organized agenda and no relationship with any other established group such as the Tea Party.
Many participants said they simply came to share opinions, trade information and express outrage just like you might do on Facebook or Twitter only in a live, face-to-face social network, according to attendee Rachel Shidaker.
"We're trying to create a platform for people to voice their opinions and concerns about their government to create and implement goals to better their national and local governments," she said.
The crowd in Lake Worth grew to more than 200 from 19 at the first meeting a week earlier. About 150 people showed up in Fort Lauderdale.
Among the concerns addressed: foreclosure fraud, depleted retirement plans, student loan availability and debt loads, the wealth imbalance, the federal debt, the influence of lobbyists in government, the fate of the middle class, the cost of health care, and disenfranchised voters.
Among the suggested solutions: Implement a one percent financial transaction tax, establish a national infrastructure bank, eliminate corporate tax loopholes and muzzle lobbyists.
Participant Glenn Cernicky was worried about the future of Social Security.
"We are the 99 percent!" he declared. "We're the ones that paid Social Security my whole life and then they're threatening whether to give me my check because of the federal deficit? How dare they?"
Bob Adrion was carrying a placard that read: Nobody Got Rich in America on His Own!
He takes issue with those individuals and companies that proclaim they are self-made millionaires.
"When somebody calls them on that they say, 'Well, we're a multinational company, we'll take our money overseas, we'll take our marbles and go home.'"
Retired mail carrier Janet Serrano and her adult son David were speaking out against the nation's income disparity and the threat it poses to the middle class.
David Serrano said people are lulled into living lifestyles of the rich and famous on credit.
"I think a lot of Americans have bought into the idea that they will one day be rich," he said. "In fact, they're living paycheck to paycheck."
Wayne Scott carried a sign with a pie chart that broke down the nation's spending percentages and it showed only 45 percent spent domestically and the rest spent abroad.
"We have over 725 military bases in 120 countries around the world," he said. "That's obscene when we have our own infrastructure falling apart, our educational system is becoming Third World, the health care system is entirely broken and neither party is addressing how to fix and make things better."
Participants said they plan to hold similar gatherings every week across South Florida.
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