The faces at Zuccotti Park are changing, and they all have their personal reasons for joining the Occupy Wall Street movement. Click through to meet a financial planner, a college student who took a semester off from school, a chairman of a major company and others who have stories to share. media: 14715424
|Bre Lembitz, Zuccotti Park's Jane-of-all-Trades|
After an internship fell through, Bre Lembitz, 21, a senior economics major at Clark University, decided to trade her dorm room for a tarp and sleeping bag at Zuccotti Park. "After seeing this movement, I knew I had to join," Lembitz said. "There's a lack of corporate accountability in this country and we need to change that." Lembitz has now been involved with Occupy Wall Street for three weeks and has joined several of the working groups that help the movement to function, including the medical, information and finance teams. Some people joke that she's Zuccotti Park's Jane-of-all-trades and resident spokesmodel. Lembitz laughed and disputed she's any sort of a leader in the horizontal movement. "Everyone is stepping up," she said. Lembitz said she's unsure if she'll return to Clark University in January to finish her degree, where tuition costs $37,000 per year. "It really depends where we are with the movement and what kind of progress we've made," she said.
|Paul Isaac, Security Team|
Former New York City auxiliary fire fighter Paul Isaac has spent the past week working on the security team in Zuccotti Park after he lost his job as a highway toll dispatcher. Isaac's teeth are falling out and he has scars that run up his right arm, where he said he has postural nerve damage from digging through the rubble at Ground Zero. "Unfortunately [my bosses] said, 'You look like you're smoking meth.' This is how it is 10 years later. They let me go." As a member of the security team, Isaac liaises with the New York City police officers who line the perimeter of the park to let them know of any problems. "We have to build a rapport with the police," he said. "They're in the 99 percent too."
|Jeff Furman, The Chairman of the Board|
The last thing anyone expected at Occupy Wall Street was someone with the title "Chairman of the Board" to join their cause, but Ben & Jerry's Chairman Jeff Furman has done just that, and more. "We wanted to lend our support because this is the most important thing happening in the country and the world right now," Furman said. The famously liberal ice cream makers, who are owned by corporate behemoth Unilever, are Occupy Wall Street's first corporate sponsors. Furman, who blended in with volunteers, was hard at work scooping 150 pounds of ice cream for protesters. "In the business world, we have to stand behind the people who are out here," he said. Furman even hinted that a certain famous duo may be in Zuccotti Park on Friday lending him a hand. "We really just want to do our part as a business," he said. "We can't be silent."
|Stephen Winkels, Financial Planner|
Financial planner Stephen Winkels left his home in Faribault, Minn., in a spur-of-the-moment decision to come to Zuccotti Park. "I'm very unhappy and feel let down by the banks," he said. "They gave me information to tell people that turned out to be not true. I couldn't deal with it." Winkels, who spent three nights sleeping in the park, said he's returning home today and plans to take the lessons he has learned from Occupy wall Street with him to Minneapolis. "This is the heart of the beast. It's unbelievable," he said.
|Gretchen Van Dyck, Nanny|
Gretchen Van Dyck, who is politically active in New York's Socialist Party, said she came to Occupy Wall Street with her friend Zelig Stern while the children she watches were at school. "It's a great anti-capitalist, leftist movement," Van Dyck said. She doesn't have student loans and has a steady job, but Van Dyck said she has seen people around her suffer from the impact of "neo-Liberal capitalism". "I've seen the economic hardships impact other nannies I am friends with," she said. "Me, personally I am in solidarity."
Joel Smith lost his job last Thursday. "I like hard work. It's not like I turned into a hippie and decided to come down here," Smith said. He declined to tell ABCNews.com where he worked or his former occupation, saying: "I feel shafted." Still, he felt it was important to come to Zuccotti Park and demand change. "The gluttony has been going on for so long," he said, pointing the stream of sharply dressed businessmen and women who bustled down the street. "I want them to know we realize we're being pillaged."