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DOWNTOWN: Diverse stories behind Occupy Atlanta

6:50 PM, Oct 17, 2011   |    comments
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Bob Goodman at Woodruff Park, October 17, 2011

ATLANTA -- The so-called "occupiers" in Atlanta's Woodruff Park claim solidarity as unified members of the "99 percent."  But each of them has a unique story and a reason for their occupation.

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11Alive News' Doug Richards talked with the protesters.

Casey Jay

"I travel around the country. Like hitchhiking and I hop on a train every now and then," said  Casey Jay, laying inside a tent in Woodruff Park.

"It's just the way I prefer to live right now. I'm not ready to settle down," said Jay.  Jay said he holds a Masters degree in business administration.

Jay said he became part of the Occupy Atlanta collective partly because he needed to find a place to stay over the winter.

"I've been traveling three years and change," he said.  "Honestly I'm just winging it from day to day right now."

Evan Fillon

"Overeducated and underemployed," is how 26 year old Evan Fillon describes himself.  "I'm one of the lucky ones.  I've at least got food coming toward me." 

Fillon said he has a Bachelor degree from college and now works irregularly as a bartender and events server.  "I'm lucky to get about ten hours a week."

Fillon said it's easy to stereotype Occupy Atlanta participants.  "We're a crazy looking bunch sometimes. We've got folks in ties and suits. I would be wearing my khakis and polos but I've been sleeping on the street for five days now."

Tevonda Pittman

"I need work," said Tevonda Pittman, age 29.  "I've been homeless ever since July 2 of this year."

Pittman has a high school diploma.  She said she lost a part-time job, "made some bad choices" and became homeless.  She joined the Occupy Atlanta collective out of frustration, she said. 

Bob Goodman

"This reminds me very much of what was going on back in the sixties," said 71 year old Bob Goodman, who'd been seated among a group of people singing in Woodruff Park.

"I think it's one of the most exciting things that has happened in a long time," said Goodman, who calls himself an anti-war activist with a Masters degree.  Goodman says he taught history at Morehouse College and worked at The Great Speckled Bird, a defunct Atlanta alternative newspaper.

"I am old enough to know that this is the right thing to do. I remember when we were doing this in the sixties. And when enough people got mobilized, things changed."

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