As part of Stanford’s 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, two incredibly renowned professors will be holding a discussion tomorrow comparing and contrasting the Occupy movement and the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968. Stanford’s own Clayborne Carson will be accompanied by Harvard professor Charles Ogletree at the Black Community Services Center at 7:30pm. A civil rights activist, Carson has taught all over the world and is the director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute . Ogletree, a Stanford grad, is known for his work in court as well as in the classroom. He also fought hard on behalf of the survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, taking their battle for reparations to the Supreme Court. If you’re currently occupying a library on campus or are otherwise interested in the Occupy movement, the discussion promises to be interesting and provide a much appreciated historical perspective.
For years I had wondered why my generation was so politically passive, silently observing as war after war was started in our name, as our “democracy” was purchased wholesale, as our planet was trashed and polluted, and then as the latest president we elected to change these things proceeded to make it worse. I sat around, wondering why everyone else was just sitting around.
Then the Occupy movement took root. People started showing their outrage in public spaces. People took that step before me and made it easier for me to get involved. A few weeks ago I made a sign and joined a protest for the first time in my life. (My sign said, “One planet shared by 100%”)
I’m a 26 year old grad student who has been pretty well-informed for a long time, but my experience protesting in the last few weeks has changed my world view more than any class or book ever could. This is especially true of when I went with a group of students to join Occupy Oakland’s march on the Port of Oakland on November 2nd.