"Your grandchildren’s future is at stake. Your courageous voices, actions, and sanity are needed to defend their dreams and their right to a full and happy life. Join us and help draw attention to the institutions and injustices which are eroding our neighborhoods, our cities, our nation, the international community, and the ecology of our world. The time to speak out and act is now! Our visibility is essential to helping raise the hopes and consciousness of our community. We urge all grandparents to stand up for the future generations and for those who are presently vulnerable to the collapse of our democracy and our rights."
This call to action was sent out last Summer in Rochester, NY by the ‘Band of Rebels’, a small group of grandparents who could no longer sit in their rocking chairs watching the deterioration of the underpinnings of civilization. Since late July the ‘rebels’ have picketed banks every week and joined the eruption of protests initiated by various local groups, including Occupy Rochester.
Every week, more and more grandparents have joined the ‘Rebels’. Local union members have joined the picket lines. The Occupy Rochester youth have also participated as well as members of other organizations. We are now urging grandchildren as well as grandparents to join us (since everyone is a grandchild). Other communities in the Rochester area have contacted us for help forming their own bands of rebels. A ‘band’ in Wayne County to the east of us is picketing weekly in Newark.
The national media has attempted to paint a negative and false image of the Occupy Wall Street movement which has swept across the country by suggesting that it is made up of scruffy, unemployed youth who lack direction and leadership. How about a companion movement of scruffy, unemployed senior citizens who can be just as determined and whose objectives are identical to those brave and creative younger people?
Our grandchildren are facing a future which will be lived in the rubble of our broken democracy and our misguided empire. We advocate: equitable taxation of the 1%; regulation of the banks; arrests of the perpetrators of the economic collapse; depersonalization of the corporations; an end to U.S. wars. The list of interconnected problems is overwhelming. Everyone needs universal health care, employment, affordable education, affordable housing, freedom from discrimination and democracy. The list of roadblocks to the obvious solutions is short. Greed, misinformation, and fear manufactured by the corporate powers.
In addition, our grandchildren are facing the disastrous effects of human interference with the earth’s natural balance of the biosphere. Despite the fact that since the early 1700s scientists have been warning that humans are causing permanent damage to the environment which effects climate and all forms of life, there is still widespread denial that life on our planet is in serious trouble.
The concerns that have triggered the current world protests affect people of all generations and it is clear that those between the young and the old are also beginning to head for the streets. The outcry is being heard all over the world. The protests in Madison, Wisconsin this past year motivated our local response and the Occupy Wall Street movement cemented our resolve to make ourselves heard. We encourage grandparents and grandchildren across the country to join in the fight to rescue the future.
There are 39 million Americans over the age of 65, 13% of the population. We urge grandparents everywhere to participate in the protection of all grandchildren. Hang on to your torches. Light a few more torches. Take back our democracy, our communities and our country, and our planet.