This piece, published yesterday at the Huffington Post Religion, was written on Sunday. Monday night, I went back to Occupy Boston as a Humanist with the Protest Chaplains, to serve as a witness and ensure that people stayed safe. Unfortunately, 141 people people were arrested—including members of “Veterans for Peace”—and officers used unnecessary force. The violence I witnessed is not a part of my vision for America, and underscores to me the fierce urgency of coming together in cooperation and understanding.
When I was in high school, civil disobedience excited me. I participated in a school walkout in protest of the Iraq War, staged a demonstration outside of a conference for anti-gay “reparative therapy,” and regularly got together with friends to make T-shirts boasting our political positions. Though the underlying political motives behind these actions were sincere, I recognize in hindsight that a big part of why I was drawn to such activism was that it hinged on solidarity and cooperation.
I was reminded of these efforts this weekend, when I decided to take my Saturday night off to check out the Occupy America (a national movement born out of Occupy Wall Street in New York City) effort in my city.
I decided to go because I have been tracking it online for some time, and many of my friends and peers have been involved from the beginning. While the participants I encountered on Saturday ranged in ages, Occupy America has frequently been referred to as a “youth-driven” movement, and the statement isn’t without merit. Though participation has been and continues to be intergenerational, there seems to be a particularly strong representation from young people.
Still, we remain a generation that is, in some ways, defined by apathy. This is perhaps no more obvious than it is in Millennials’ relationship with religion.