Stanley Stewart participated in Occupy Atlanta protests but now thinks there is a better approach to achieve its goals.
Watching the Occupy movement in Atlanta, I thought to myself: “Finally. My generation’s social and political apathy is over - people are taking a stand!” But weeks have turned into months, and I can’t help but think that nothing is really getting accomplished. I was a participant in Occupy Atlanta’s protests when they began. Each rally was full of loud bullhorns bursting through the air and there were hand-written signs of defiance for all to see. My favorite sign read “Money Talks, 99% Walks.” My heart swelled with pride, as I’ve been waiting for a movement like this to spur Americans into action - especially youth like me.
But now, I’ve changed my mind about the best approach to make change. Camping out in a park for months on end and countless marches aren’t exactly ending economic inequality. Instead of taking to the streets, people should be taking to the election booths. We should occupy our legislators’ mailboxes and telephone lines, not the parks. I turn 18 next year and I can’t wait to vote. I think my ballot will make more of a difference than marching down Peachtree Street. Rather than filling up space at a city jail, it seems my fellow protestors and I should put our energy towards electing officials to occupy seats in congress and city hall who will make the changes we want.