Christina Kay and C.J. Kelly of Carmichael wear three hats.
They are mothers, students and part of Occupy Sacramento, the nonviolent encampment at Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento that began Oct. 6.
Over the past month, Kay, 25, and Kelly, 23, have been with other activists occupying the park across from city hall named after the . Occupy Sacramento patterns itself after the Occupy Wall Street movement in lower Manhattan.
The Occupy movement has spread rapidly across the U.S. among those who define themselves as the 99 percent majority under siege by a one percent aristocracy. The nation’s biggest banks serve as a kind of proxy for the upper one percent, according to Kay and Kelly, and scores of their fellow 99 percent occupiers.
Kay, who studies interior design at and hopes to transfer to the University of California, Davis to major in production design, has lived in Carmichael since age eight. A mother of Hazel May, 3, Kay says that following "citizens media" about the Occupy Wall Street movement pushed her to join its Sacramento affiliate.
At first, she was unsure about participants in the capital region being committed to addressing inequality, poverty and opportunity. But a month of spending time with occupiers at Chavez Park changed Kay’s mind.
“After spending 28 days with these individuals,” she said, “I’ve learned that they are really in this. Nobody is backing down.”
Kay labors in website development at the encampment. She also coordinates the logistics of varied events, from city council meetings to news media outreach.
According to a statement from Occupy Sacramento, its supporters took part in a "Bank Transfer Day/ Move Your Money Rally and March" as part of a national day of action on Nov. 5. Demonstrators walked from Chavez Park
to nearby branches of financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Bank of
America to close their accounts and shift those funds to smaller firms such as credit unions.
Kay has not been one of the 82 occupiers arrested on misdemeanor charges of city curfew violations after 11 p.m. in Cesar Chavez Park.
Like Kay, Kelly has avoided arrest. Skilled in stenciling t-shirts, she also is a
communications major at Sac State.
Kelly arrived at Occupy Sacramento on Oct. 6, day one of the movement. She says that what attracted her was demonstrators’ opposition to the corrupting influence of money in politics.
At the encampment, Kelly takes part in the movement’s general assemblies, where participants self-organize. To this end, Kelly, Kay and other occupiers deliberate and vote with a collective show of hands on issues of shared interest, from philosophy to strategies and tactics.
In this way, participants aim to build consensus through regular give-and-take dialogue. Kelly has a perspective on what to prioritize.
“I think that we need to focus our general assemblies on the bigger policies and how to effect changes,” she said while watching Joshu, her two-year-old son.
Recent numbers from the Congressional Budget Office spotlight the income gap between the top one percent and the rest of the U.S. populace from 1979 to 2007.
•For the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent (see figure below).
•For others in the 20 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent.
•For the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the income scale, the growth in average real after-tax household income was just under 40 percent.
•For the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income, the growth in average real after-tax household income was about 18 percent.” (Source http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=2909)