As I sit in my new city, San Francisco, I'm feeling a withdrawal from New York. Sure, I was happy to leave the heat of the city in August, and the fears of hurricane Irene, but I'm finding myself glued to my phone as I get calls and pictures from friends at Occupy Wall Street.
It seems there is another hurricane happening now. It doesn't seem to matter who I'm talking to, Buddhists, mothers, musicians, lawyers or union laborers, all my friends are there, and active. Part of the intrigue for me is the collision of groups and cultures who are dropping labels, and identifying as one: against the 1 percent.
One of my friends invited Columbia University professor and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman to come speak at Liberty Plaza. Robert's speech was powerful and direct; encouraging non-violence, and also our power to use our voices, and question injustices.
Robert frequently lectures on the Buddhist principle of interdependence, which, in short, describes that no man is an island and that we do nor achieve anything independently; in his talk he weaves together the spiderweb of the "corporatocracy:"
A wimpy bunch of guys with a couple of token girls who don't actually know how to make anything, but they know how to sign checks, and push papers... But the one thing they are good at, is not wanting to pay people to make things, an honest wage, a decent job, so they support dictatorships like China, to keep slaves on tap for them, paying a dollar a day so they can bust the unions here, and export all our jobs and even get tax breaks for it. This has to stop!
At the same park, many of my union friends from the New York Hardcore scene have descended as well; bound by their common love of street music, and a desire not to accept the status quo.
My friend Joe from Black N Blue Productions has been reaching out on his weekly Internet radio show to share the happenings from the streets of New York -- the things he's NOT seeing in the mainstream media.
And while his show, with its 30-40,000 weekly listeners may not have the reach of CNN, it has a different power -- youth who are loyal to the movement, and passionate about change. Joe is bringing a different commentary -- other cool heroes -- musicians and activists -- on the air.
While mainstream media is clamoring, "But what do they want?," activists in this circle have secured funding to print the first declaration of the #OccupyWallStreet Movement.
As my head spirals around this hurricane of unified voices and messages, I think of other cool heroes I have worked with -- musicians like the Street Dogs, who have worked to support the AFL-CIO and to educate youth about 'Made in China,' the injustices of its forced prison labor, and the ways we can use our voices for change -- to bring jobs back to America.
Robert Thurman was right, we need cool heroes, and everyday heroes are rising everyday in this movement.