We were the original protestors. Occupying the streets, the parks, the benches. Barricading sidewalks and doorways. Crying out with our mere presence that there is something wrong, something inhumane, something twisted about the way this all works. But you didn’t notice us then.
We were here before the crash, though there are more of us here now. We were here before the last crash, too, and the one before that. Without Twitter, without Facebook, we made our way to the center of this town, to come together and be. We are the very young and the very old, war veterans and unborn children. We have gathered here to be a voice, a quiet, quiet voice, against an unjust system, a world which finds us unworthy, untouchable, unloveable.
We have not taken up this cause; it has been laid upon us by a world which does not want us. But it is our cause nonetheless. We carry signs that speak of our discontent, our anger, our desperation.
“Will work for food.”
And we have marched, oh how we have marched. We have marched in the streets and along the sidewalks. From back alley to back alley, from dumpster to dumpster. But unlike you, we have tried to go unnoticed, to remain hidden from a world that does not want to see our protest. But we are here, no number of warnings or arrests, tasers or handcuffs, can keep us away.
We are charity cases at Christmas and inconveniences in the summer. But we are not fair-weather fighters. No matter the weather, the rain, the sleet, the snow, we are here, speaking out. Crying out. Or simply crying.
We are not the 99 percent. We are the other one percent, the one percent without a place to go home to at the end of the night. We are the one percent of this country that uses a step for a pillow and a garbage sack for a bed. The one percent in cars and in motels, nowhere to call home at night, nowhere to go during the day.
We are the other one percent.
We are the homeless.
Our voices our soft and, if you do not look closely, our presence melts into the cityscape. Do you even know why we’re here? Is it the alcohol bottles littered at our feet? My feet bloody from traipsing these roads in search of work? Is it the cigarette in our hands? The hands that helped build a house I could not afford?
Do you even know why we are here? What we are fighting against, what we are fighting for?
Neither do we. Just let us go home.