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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wall Street Protests Take Root In Small Town America

Missoula County Courthouse, Missoula, Montana. (Flickr/daniel-barton)A to do list of the Occupy Grand Rapids movement in Michigan. (Flickr/dennetmint)

The Occupy Wall Street movement that started in Manhattan is now in its second month and has spread to hundreds of cities around the world and across the country– Mobile, Alabama; Jacksonville, Florida; Portland, Oregon; Grand Rapids, Michigan and Missoula, Montana, are just a few.

Protesters are citing a range of reasons for their activism:

Protester Kim Bostrum, in Missoula, Montana: “I think the reason everyone is here is because we’re angry. I’m angry because I feel like a wealthy minority is controlling our so-called democracy. They control our food our water, they’re outsourcing our jobs and this wealthy minority is taking over the country and we want to take it back.”

Richard Ertle, demonstrator in Grand Rapids, Michigan: “I’m tired of my government calling me a consumer. I’m a citizen. I wasn’t born a United States consumer. I want my government to listen to me, not the businesses that are trying to manipulate me.”

Debbie, an unemployed protester in Missoula: “The chronic underemployment of a lot of my colleagues and friends is a big strain on a lot of people around me. Sexism still exists in the workplace, racism is everywhere. These issues aren’t being fully outed.”

Ryan Peter Gillikin, protester in Grand Rapids: “Corporate companies have the ability to give unlimited amounts of money to campaigns… so that they can get their desired officials… in place so that they are in power without having the responsibility.”


  • Ryan Peter Gillikin, 23 year-old graduate of Grand Valley State University, who has been protesting in Grand Rapids
  • Richard Ertle, 39 year-old studying network administration at Grand Rapids Community College, also a protester
  • Kim Bostron, 34 year-old administrator for a Missoula biotech company, who protests on her lunch break
  • Debbie, who is 36 years old and unemployed, she has been involved in protests in Missoula

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