Louis

I grew up in Newark, NJ, which is the largest city in the state of New Jersey. Lived there all my life.

What they say is that an activist is no more than an angry victim. Well that’s pretty much how I came to be.

In the past I was a lobbyist. I worked for an organization which was one of the largest independent health sciences institutions in the state of New Jersey. There were some difficulties that they ran into and some illegal things that went on. I was very vocal about some of the things that took place; there was an investigation, a senator went to jail, one dean went to jail, and I have been involved in standing up against corruption ever since.

It was that situation that got me involved or got me concerned. What they say is that an activist is no more than an angry victim. Well that’s pretty much how I came to be. After being involved in a situation that was wrong, I made a stand and subsequently dealt with the consequences that came with it; and from that point on I made a dedication to stand up against corruption.

I am currently finishing my graduate degree in human services, that’s my master’s degree in human services, but I’m also getting another degree, a master’s degree, in science administration with an emphasis on finance. School is going great for me. Student loans, I think, are the greatest thing there was, because obviously you can’t afford it [laughs]. I think there is an interesting note: In Mexico, one of the poorest countries in the world, school’s still free. But you know, hey, that’s our system, so we work with it.

My thesis is on white-collar crime, the impact it’s had on our nation, the impact it has on the average person. Not necessarily from a standpoint of price-fixing but from the standpoint of mass white-collar crime: exploitation of a group of people, individuals, or a group of individuals, for what, and the impact it ultimately has. Our poverty levels are growing. Obviously everyone is aware of our deficit. So those things became of interest to me. And obviously after seeing how some things may take place, from a corruption & political standpoint, I became very concerned, very involved, and dedicated myself to that.

I see [Occupy Wall Street] as an opportunity to gain information obviously for my thesis, yes, but I also see it as the foundation of a larger movement that can move forward. I was speaking with someone earlier and I used an example of Doctor King: he didn’t have a lobbyist that worked for him, but what he did have was a group of concerned people who came together to make some improvements, and I think it was July 7th, if I’m correct, 1964 that they signed the Civil Rights Act. That was historic and made a difference, but that was a group of collective people, of all races, that came together to talk about inequality and make a difference. That improved our system of government. That improved our way of life. That improved everything for all American’s. Occupy Wall Street is on the same plane, in my opinion, and therefore I think there is a lot of potential, tremendous potential, to be able to move things foreword to create equality for all people once again.

Legislatively, I think that the Occupy Wall Street participants should become a part of the process: attend hearings, meet with legislators, craft a message that will allow them to speak about some of the problems that have been taking place. Especially when you’re talking about economic injustice or inequality. So, if you’re going to discuss that, create a platform, meet with legislators, bring your issues on the state level, and then bring it to the federal level.

If we were to say in 5 years, I would love to see hearings that take place in congress, and committee hearings that are going to talk about social inequality, economic inequality, how we can work on balancing the playing field, and obviously increase the level of social responsibility within organizations. Some corporations have social responsibility departments; maybe we need to look at having all of them have that. And obviously, if a corporation is involved in something that’s nefarious, which could hurt the general public, there should be a fund they have to contribute to so they can help balance things out. TARP was able to help them but unfortunately a lot of American’s were hurt in turn. So maybe we need to balance the playing field in terms of how we look at remedies for problems such as this.

My name is Louis.

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