The Star-News


Occupations still exist

Sat, Jan 14 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité

A man in a Mercedes drives past protesters who stand on the corner of H Street and Otay Lakes Road, shaking his head.

"That’s right, go ahead," Nestor resident and local activist Ken Brucker said aloud. "Shake your head."
Brucker, 47, is one of a handful of Occupy Chula Vista supporters who stood with signs, passed out flyers and waved American flags Monday morning.

The Jan. 9 protest was held near Southwestern College to grab the attention of students, who were back in school after winter break.

“The younger people are crucial to this movement,” Chula Vista resident, activist and mother Charlene Pennington said.

Occupy Chula Vista is a group of South Bay residents, parents, employees and activists who support Occupy San Diego, which derived from Occupy Wall Street in New York City last September. The occupy groups protest the nation’s 1 percent of people who own and control a disproportionate amount of wealth, while the remaining 99 percent struggle to make ends meet.

When asked what he was protesting against, Brucker said, “It’s kind of like a scene in the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One,” where the woman asks him, ‘Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?’ And he replies, ‘Whaddya got?’ ”
“We will no longer remain silent to how our government is bought and paid for,” Brucker said.

Although the movement is meant to be nonviolent, many people have been arrested or become subjected to police brutality across the nation.

“The idea is to present a peaceful protest,” Pennington, 44, said. “The movement itself keeps people aware of everything that’s going wrong.”

Occupy Chula Vista’s Facebook page was created in October by a few local activists, including Brucker and Pennington, who say that social injustice and inequality must be challenged at the government level.

An excerpt from its Facebook page states: "We stand in solidarity and support Occupy San Diego, Occupy Wall Street, and the rest of the Occupiers out there! We are currently working hard to set up here in downtown Chula Vista."

Occupy Chula Vista has had three meetings since November, mostly Brucker said, on how to reach out to the community about getting involved.

“We haven’t had much of a response from the community,” he said. “It’s still getting off the ground.”
Pennington said she protests the injustice of cuts to social programs nationwide and tax breaks for the rich, while the poorer sink deeper into poverty.


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