Tekima

I am a “northern,” I was born and raised in Harlem. I still live in Harlem. I’ve been here all my life. I went to American schools, which I got no education from.

One week out of work, or my social security check doesn’t show up, and I’m homeless too. All I’d need is one month because I haven’t been able to accumulate anything; it took everything I had to live.

I’ve raised four kids in that area, I’ve lost two of them. One was ill; the other one was suicide from our society. He graduated & went to the best schools here but he got caught up in the bullying that happens in these corporations and what not and lost faith in our society. He just gave up on it. I’m a victim of this society too. After being born and raised here, I couldn’t even get educated. The schools in America are very difficult for minorities. I belong to a Baptist church here; I’ve been in the church all my life. I’ve worked all my life and I haven’t received anything, no more than what I’ve worked for and what I have accumulated. One week out of work, or my social security check doesn’t show up, and I’m homeless too. All I’d need is one month because I haven’t been able to accumulate anything; it took everything I had to live. I’ve been very lucky in that, since I’ve been here, I’ve been in a rent-stabilized apartment, or else I couldn’t afford to pay my rent out of my social security check. I’m blessing that piece. I grew up, really, down here. I worked for the Bureau of Child Welfare…and now I’m retired. Now, I come down here, at least once a week, to support these young people and let them know that there is some minority Americans that would like to help out. I can’t afford to stay out here in the cold all day but I can come out and give support. I’m 70 years old and I feel that this is a great contribution. These people down here are great for America, to remind them of what they stand for.

I came down the third day. It was very exciting to me that these young people were trying to do something about what’s really happening in our society. I brought a blanket and a couple of coats because, as a grandmother, I worry about these young people staying out here in the cold. For the last two weeks I was bringing blankets and stuff to people that could use them because they are to be applauded for what they are doing. They’re putting their bodies on the line.

I think this [Occupy Wall Street] has already accomplished quite a bit. They have shed light on the 99% and the 1%. You haven’t got a group to do this in decades. In the couple of months that they’ve been here, they got worldwide attention. People are occupying all over the world now and it started right here. I think that, if they continue, they will highlight on the job situation, on the people that have to work two jobs to make it in America, You can’t afford just one job, you have to have more just to make it in America today. Husbands and wives, both of them are working, and the children are home alone until they come from work. The standard of living in America now, doesn’t support the regular middle class person. They’re struggling every week to try and make ends meet. They’re trying to run our unions out of the society; they don’t want us to have unions anymore because they will give you a decent salary. This is why these people are down here. They’re talking about the high rent, the prison situation, the school situation, the job situation, and the healthcare situation; all of these are things that work against the middle class. If they don’t do it, who will? If not now, when?

When you come out of school owing $50,000—my granddaughter came out of school and she owes $52,000. I have to help her to try and pay that, to pay her rent. That’s going to take at least 10 years to pay off that bill…If you can’t afford to educate your young, you are a loss.

We’ve been suffering for years and we shouldn’t be. We should at least have some time to spend with our family. You have to work all the time; you have to go from one job to the next. I’m retired and I’m working part time to try and make ends meet. That’s the way it is in America today. People are suffering. There are so many robberies and things are going on now because people don’t have work. If you don’t have work, you are going to steal from somebody else; that’s human nature. You cannot find a job here. I don’t care about what kind of degree’s you have. The young people have gone to school, have done what we told them to do and when they come out of school they can’t find a job, unless it’s in a McDonalds or another low paying job. You can’t get on the train unless you have five dollars to go and come back. If you’ll have to spend that kind of money just for transportation, where’s the part of that salary where you can get a sandwich or something else? It’s really tough, really tough; that’s all it is. Our train fair is $2.25 for a regular person. For a senior, I get a break but I think about the young people trying to make it out here. My generation has made it, we’re getting ourselves secured, but there is no future for our young people. They won’t even have the same chance of trying to get a house as we did.

When you come out of school owing $50,000—my granddaughter came out of school and she owes $52,000. I have to help her to try and pay that, to pay her rent. That’s going to take at least 10 years to pay off that bill. America can’t afford to educate it’s own. If you can’t afford to educate your young, you are a loss. You have to be able to educate your own and [America is] not even trying to do anything about that. You’re having all these wars all over the world. I don’t know anything about people over there and what they are doing in Greece or these other countries. Why are you fighting them and sending my tax dollars over there? You don’t need to be fighting them; you need to come home, take care of your own business, and give the American people the privileges that they deserve. Healthcare and free education is what I’m standing for.

They’re arresting people still down here. People not even doing anything, they’re just arresting people. I’m annoyed to be an American today, I feel ashamed because when you can’t demonstrate what you feel in society without being arrested, it really gets me hard. I just feel America should live up to what they say they are. They say that we have freedom of speech and we are supposedly able to demonstrate and it’s not showing here. I feel very sorry about it. So many people are out of work. They’re discharging the soldiers now; where are they going to get jobs from when the regular society cannot find a job? I just feel that our society is not living up to what we claim we stand for. We were over in Egypt trying to help them free themselves and here people are talking about the heartache and the pain that they’re having in America, and when they do it, they arrest them. I wish that they would be here everyday, just come everyday and display their displeasure with what’s happening.

There is hope that we can have a changed world. We need a change: not greed, but giving everybody a chance to have a decent life and to make a decent salary, if they are willing to work. If you’re not willing to work, that’s different but if you are willing to work, you should be able to live decently and have an apartment or a roof over your head, with a couple of dollars in your pocket. I’m asking that America look into free education for the young people of today. I feel very sad for a country that refuses to educate it’s own. 

My name is Tekima.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: