I am the 99%.
I don’t have a camera phone, so I cannot provide a picture, and even if I could, I am ashamed of my situation and I wish to retain just a semblance of what’s left of my pride.
I am 56 years old, unemployed, broke, and I’m very worried about losing my home because I can’t afford next month’s rent.
I had to liquidate my 401k, my IRA’s, my savings, most of my furniture, including a grand piano and a harpsichord, and I have almost nothing left to sell.
I am a graduate of Stanford University, in economics, law, and finance. I have done post-graduate work at Princeton, and have attended summer programs at Oxford.
My first job involved high level financial analysis and management for a Fortune 500 firm. I then worked as a CFO for a much smaller closely held real estate investment firm, which allowed me to also work in a similar capacity for a number of nonprofit organizations, particularly with regard to gay and lesbian civil rights.
I have been unable to find steady work since 2006, relying only on casual contract work, doing everything from bookkeeping and accounting to strategic planning services, and I’ve been doing so for a PITTANCE compared to what I used to earn, though up until recently I’ve been able to support myself, despite incurring a massive back tax debt.
I have submitted resumes and proposals to THOUSANDS of potential employers and clients, nearly ALL to no avail.
Because I am self-employed and could not afford to pay for unemployment insurance, I do not qualify for unemployment benefits, though prior to my self-employment, I paid into this fund for DECADES…
I am also handicapped, with rheumatoid arthritis, and have EXTREME difficulty walking. I have no medical insurance and I have been denied Medic-Aid / Medi-Cal benefits.
I have rented out my guestroom to people I do not know, who have been less than respectful to my property, causing me to sustain THOUSANDS of dollars in damages which the deposits of my tenants do not cover, and because they are poor themselves, such damages would be very difficult to recover.
I have applied and received foodstamps, and I am about to go to a food bank to supplement these insufficient benefits. I have applied for public funding to pay for my utilities. I may have to apply for General Assistance welfare just to have a few dollars to pay for items that are not covered by foodstamps, such as soap.
If I cannot find a job soon, or if I cannot find another renter of my guestroom soon, or if I cannot find some other way to earn some money, I face the prospect of losing my home where I have lived for the past fifteen years…
For me, the OCCUPY movement is my only hope, which is why I wish I could participate, though I cannot walk very well, and I cannot afford gas to get to a demonstration.
But I am VERY grateful that this movement is addressing the issues facing Americans, Californians and Sacramentans – most profoundly grateful indeed…