Everyone who’s spent a night in the Occupy London camp has a story to tell.
Some are about acceptance. Some are about complex issues, such as battling mental illness. Others are about being part of something with the potential to create a domino-effect of change.
Those stories, weaved together and left to develop under the trees at Victoria Park, are what have made the occupation a worthwhile exercise in free assembly, participants said.
“I feel more fulfilled here than I would anywhere making money,” Matthew Febbraro said Tuesday morning describing his multiple jobs and responsibilities around the camp. “If this ends, I’m going to go pitch my tent elsewhere.”
Members of the occupation ‘ and those like it across the country ‘ have stressed time and time again that the movement doesn’t have a “face,” a singular agenda or a clear-cut definition.
But, in many ways, Febbraro represents a good portion of the nearly 50 people who have been behind the local movement since day one.
The 22-year-old lifelong Londoner grew up like many others in the city. His dad’s a carpenter. His mom works in human resources. He’s a high school graduate with some college under his belt. He’s soft-spoken and easy to talk to.
Simply put, Febbraro is relatively average outside the way he’s carrying out his desire to live in a society without “corporate greed” and away from a world that places a strong emphasis on money.
The occupation, Febbraro said, has given him an outlet to share his ideas and created a community where he felt valued.
“I didn’t have much to give at the time,” he said, speaking about his life before Occupy London. “I feel like I have more here and I had nothing before.”
For Terry Firlotte, 54, of London the encampment has been the catalyst for a brighter outlook on life.
“There’s nobody here … that hasn’t been touched,” he said. “There’s hope. There’s hope that we can change this (world).”