Transcript for the Piece Audio version of The Occupiers: Corrie Garnet
I AM A NURSE WITH NO HEALTHCARE INSURANCE. I AM THE 99 PERCENT.
That’s Corrie Garnet, an original settler in the Occupy Boston encampment, reading the sign she has had with her ever since she joined the protest.
IT’S GOTTEN A LOT OF ATTENTION. I MEAN IT IS PRETTY IRONIC THAT I AM A NURSE AND I DELIVER HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA, BUT I DO NOT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE MYSELF BECAUSE I CAN’T AFFORD IT.
She made a two hour car ride to Boston from her home in Gill, Massachusetts when she learned about a meeting to demonstrate regarding the current economic situation.
MY 23 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER CALLED ME AND TOLD ME THERE WAS A REVOLUTION HAPPENING AND IT WAS BEGINNING ON WALL STREET, THE COUPLE HUNDRED PEOPLE CAMPED OUT THERE. AND I SAID I HADN’T HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT IT. AND SHE SAID YEAH, IT’S FUNNY, IT’S NOT IN THE NEWS. AND I LOOKED ONLINE AND FOUND SO MUCH INFORMATION
WHEN I FOUND OCCUPY BOSTON, IT HAD JUST BEEN POSTED FOR A COUPLE DAYS THAT THERE WAS GONNA BE A MEETING HERE AND I THOUGHT WELL I COULD DEFINITELY SUPPORT THAT, Y’KNOW? AND I DROVE OUT HERE FOR THE MEETING AND THERE WERE OVER 200 PEOPLE. FOR THAT TO BE THE FIRST MEETING AND IT WAS ONLY POSTED FOR A COUPLE DAYS, IT WAS REALLY INSPIRING FOR ME. I FELT LIKE THIS IS DEFINITLEY TIME—SO MANY PEOPLE ARE SO SICK OF THE SITUATION.
She says the nursing profession is no different that most other paths right now in terms of providing jobs.
I HAVE FRIENDS GRADUATING FROM SCHOOL AS RN’S AND CANNOT FIND A JOB. AND THE ECONOMY IS SO BAD THAT THE NURSES WORKING IN THE HOSPITALS WHO SHOULD HAVE RETIRED IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS, CAN’T, OR ARE AFRAID TO BECAUSE OF HOW BAD THE ECONOMY IS.
Garnet is already a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN. But right now she cares for people as a home health aid. She says she can’t afford to buy insurance through her employer’s rate of 600 dollars per month and she doesn’t qualify for the state assistance plan, Mass Health.
I’M HEAR TO PROTEST THE BIG BUSINESSES THAT ARE GETTING ALL THE TAX BREAKS, GETTING ALL THE PROTECTION, AND I DON’T THINK THAT IT’S RIGHT THAT CORPORATIONS ARE BEING TREATED BETTER THAN THE PEOPLE! AND I’M SICK OF SEEING ALL THE SOCIAL PROGRAMS BEING CUT. AND ALL THE FUNDING IN THIS COUNTRY GOING TOWARD MILITARY, KILLING PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES INSTEAD OF TAKING CARE OF THE PEOPLE HERE IN THIS COUNTRY.
Garnet has also raised two daughters on her own; she’s been a midwife; she’s spent two years refreshing her science courses, and had just started training to become and RN this fall. But she ran into a glitch. She says hospitals like the one in she trained in for her LPN will no longer admit a student who refuses to get vaccinated. She filed a religious exemption from vaccination with her school, just like she had during LPN training and for every school or camp she sent her kids to. But now she’s had to drop out of RN training and she feels powerless.
COMPANIES MAKE A LOT OF MONEY FROM VACCINES, AND I’M NOT GONNA GET VACINATED BECAUSE IT’S AGAINST MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. NOW THIS WAS FINE TWO YEARS AGO. I WAS ABLE TO GO INTO THESE CORPORATE HOSPITALS AND DO MY CLINICAL ROTATION. IN THE PAST TWO YEARS, MY RIGHTS HAVE EVAPORATED.
Garnet’s personal frustration certainly motivated her to join Occupy Boston, but she is also encouraged to find others like her who want to make the situation better for everybody.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS MOVEMENT IS THAT THERE’S NOT ONE PERSON IN CHARGE. THERE’S NOT A LEADER, THERE’S NOT ONE PARTICULAR PARTY BEING REPRESENTED, IT’S EVERYBODY! IT’S THE 99 PERCENT. AND WHEN PEOPLE COME TOGETHER, AND TRY TO DO THINGS THROUGH CONCENSUS, IT TAKES INTO ACCOUNT EVERYBODY, AND THAT’S WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN THIS COUNTRY. PEOPLE’S RIGHTS NEED TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT AND THE PEOPLE NEED TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. WE WANT THE BOTTOM LINE TO BE ABOUT PEOPLE, NOT THE BOTTOM LINE TO BE ABOUT PROFIT.
I THINK IF THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE STAND UP, THAT WHEN THE PEOPLE LEAD, THE LEADERS WILL CRUMBLE. AND I THINK THAT IF PEOPLE DEMAND UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE IN THIS COUNTTRY, IT’LL HAPPEN.
Garnet isn’t a permanent camper. She has to work. But she plans to return on weekends and help out in the Medic tent. Back in Gill, she’s been spreading the word about the occupation.
I WOULD SAY HAVE YOU HEARD THERE’S A REVOLUTION? HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE REVOLUTION THAT’S STARTED AND UH PEOPLE WOULD STOP IN THE STREET AND SAY NO, WHA…AND I WOULD GIVE THEM A FLYER.
Like other citizens occupying cities across the U.S., she is willing to add her voice to the growing coalitions who are demanding fair treatment, opportunity and justice.
SO NOW THAT I’M NOT IN NURSING SCHOOL, I HAVE TIME TO SIT HERE AND PROTEST THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING IN THIS COUNTRY.
IT’S GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE THERE’S ENOUGH PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK WHO CAN JUST GO SIT ON WALL STREET AND PROTEST!