Class Warfare

Faces of Occupy L.A.: The Student, the Actor, the Addict, the Vet

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Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge SIMONE WILSON
  • Simone Wilson
Walking through the tent city out front L.A. City Hall last night, spirits were high.

A man in a ragged suit balanced on a fire hydrant, waving a sign with "Join us, don't be scared!" magic-markered in Spanish. Another man, in dreads, lit up some sage on the lawn next to him. Little kids with "99 percent" signs taped to the backs of their shirts formed a drum circle at the sidewalk intersection of Temple and Spring Streets. As the smoggy night air started to thicken with drops of water -- a light aftershock to Wednesday's downpour -- campers rushed to cover supplies and throw rain flies over tents.

Occupy L.A. has moved into 200 North Spring Street for good; L.A. City Councilmembers wouldn't dare turn them away now. Below, LA Weekly speaks with four of the faces who have joined this hundreds-strong solidarity effort with Occupy Wall Street to fight for the 99 percent.

click to enlarge RYAN DETO
  • Ryan Deto
Esther Kim

Esther Kim got in on the ground floor of the Occupy L.A. movement. A friend from L.A. City College brought her to the first organizational meeting at Pershing Square, a couple weeks ago, and she's been attending the protest ever since.

She plans to transfer to UC Berkeley in the spring.

"This is a dream come true for me," she said. "But I'm not sure how I'm going to afford it."

Kim, 31, waited a long time to go to college because she was struggling to pay the bills.

Though she's worked a series of jobs, she's never had health insurance.

"A lot of my family members and I, we've never been rich," she said. "We're afraid of being hurt, or getting sick, or getting check-ups. We can't afford it."

She plans to bring a tent this weekend to camp out overnight.

-- Gene Maddaus

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