The U-T: Portraits of the Occupiers of Occupy San Diego

by on November 6, 2011 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, Media, San Diego

Melissa Vega, 19. Photographs by San Diego U-T staff photographer K.C. Alfred

Editor:  Today’s San Diego U-T ran a nice series of portraits by Matthew T. Hall  of seven of the occupiers of Occupy San Diego, accompanied by excellent photos by U-T staff photographer K.C. Alfred.  The piece is much more sympathetic to our own Occupy Wall Street protesters than the standard fare from the U-T.  And Hall, at least, has spent some time out on the quad and at bank actions in an sincere effort to get to know just who is doing the daily occupying.

By Matthew T. Hall / San Diego U-T SignOnSanDiego / November 4 – 6, 2011

On Monday, the Occupy San Diego movement will mark a milestone many locals may not have seen coming: Its first month of occupation.

True to the word’s double meaning, camping out on downtown city property has become a job for dozens of demonstrators who protest corporate greed and economic inequality by day, and sleep (or not) outside the Civic Theatre at night.

The group has grown smaller and scruffier, and its goals have yet to crystallize since the first march drew 1,500 people on Oct. 7. Subsequent city crackdowns on 100-plus tents led to 53 arrests.

For the remainder of Hall’s piece and photos, go here.

Here’s a sample:

Melissa Vega, 19, of Mount Hope, City College student

Vega, another arrestee, sits on Occupy San Diego’s gardening committee.

 “A lot of people are homeless people, but in the beginning, there were all kinds of people. It was so beautiful. We were all spread out throughout this whole area. We had tents and we had a media table. We had all sorts of things.

 “Everyone was just like working with each other, talking to each other about the issues, about why we’re here, about why we are the 99 percent.

 “I just think it’s crazy how all these corporations pretty much own us. The U.S. is in so much debt. We can’t pay that off. We have other countries lending us money, and I think that’s going on our shoulders and the shoulders of our children.”

Curtis Williams, 27, homeless off and on for eight years

Williams lived on Ocean Beach streets before joining the occupation.

 “Most protests are there to speak out against something or have proponents that immediately have a set list of demands. This one is a little bit different in that it is literally a think tank, a really huge nationwide think tank, where we don’t know exactly what it is we want other than our rights back, other than democracy.”

 Mike Garcia, 48, of La Mesa, drug-abuse counselor

“When you sit in the committee meetings and you sit in the G.A., there’s a tremendous variety of people. There are lawyers. There are people in the medical profession. There are stay-at-home moms. It’s a microcosm of San Diego.”

For the other photos and remainder of the text to Matthew Hall’s piece, go here.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

OB ecian November 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

I really liked this profile in the U/T. One of the few things I can say I like at all in that no-good-for-nothing fish wrapper. It put a face and a name to all the people who are out there on the Occupy San Diego front lines. These are some awesome people! Not all of them are homeless hippies looking to camp out downtown and smoke (medical) marijuana. The OB Rag is doing a fantastic job of covering the movement as well. Thank you.


Shane Finneran November 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I liked the profile, too. I really enjoyed reading the comments at the bottom, too. They included some healthy discussion and debate, suggesting the U/T’s new Facebook-linked comment system is working out.


Matthew T. Hall November 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Thanks for appreciating my efforts here, everyone. I and others at the U-T and other local media outlets are trying hard to cover a story here with a lot of components. For more on this issue, please follow @OccupyCoverage on Twitter and visit for information on a Nov. 17 journalism panel discussion on how the media is handling the Occupy San Diego movement. Thanks again. Cheers.


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Older Article:

Newer Article: