The protesters arrested for Occupying Nashville, specifically Legislative Plaza after the 10 p.m. curfew, come from different walks of life but share some common traits. For the most part, they’re white and unemployed or underemployed. They feel let down by the American Dream and hope their participation can make the country better for others.
Forty-eight were arrested, six of those twice. Some chose to share a glimpse of their lives with The Tennessean:
John H. Allen, 36, of Nashville works in data entry for a small Nashville company, but it’s a temporary job ending in January. Two weeks ago, he joined the movement by bringing supplies to the protesters camping on Legislative Plaza. “When I saw the police swarming in, it just wasn’t right,” he said.
Corey B. Amons, 23, of Cottontown is an artist and recent graduate of Vol State Community College. He is planning to go to Chicago to work on his bachelor’s degree in education. He has been with the Occupy Nashville movement from its beginning earlier this month.
Mike Anger, 30, of Lexington, Ky., is an unemployed bartender with a 6-year-old son. “It hit home with me,” he said. “You can’t miss what’s going on in our country. … I’ll stay with it until the end.”
Alesandra T. Bellos, 33, of Nashville and her sister run a company working with textiles. She stayed only a few nights on the plaza before being arrested. She and her husband stayed at a hotel on Wall Street during Occupy Wall Street.
James R. Bradley, 39, of Nashville is married to Bellos and runs a small software company in Nashville.
Jeremiah M. Carter, 19, of Bellevue co-owns a record label and works as a musician. He was in New York City for the Occupy Wall Street march and rallies in September and nearly got arrested there but escaped approaching officers.
Michael P. Custer, 47, of Nashville works as a cook. He said he has been a political activist his whole life and vows to be with the Occupy Nashville group on Legislative Plaza until he is “arrested or killed.”
Elizabeth Drake, 22, of Memphis is a student attending Southwest Tennessee Technical Community College but hopes to start nursing school in the fall. She was one of three Occupy Memphis protesters who came to Nashville to help the movement get more exposure. She, Alexandra Pusateri and Robert “Jade” Stowater were arrested together.
William W. Howell, 64, of Nashville works as a lobbyist and community organizer for Tennesseans for Fair Taxation. He has been married for 39 years to his wife, Margaret. They have two grown daughters. As troopers surrounded the group, Howell led protesters in reading from the Declaration of Independence.
Christopher Humprey, 24, of Nashville writes for The Contributorhomeless newspaper and also sells copies. Before he was homeless, he worked as a cook and barback. “I know how beautiful America is and how great it can be, and I want it to be that way,” he said “I want my rights and liberties.”
Adam K. Knight, 27, of Smyrna teaches eighth-grade English at Two Rivers Middle School and has been following Occupy Wall Street from day one. “If Metro Nashville Schools chooses to fire me for standing up for my constitutional rights, so be it,” he said.
Lindsey G. Krinks, 26, of Nashville works part time as a homeless advocate and is a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School along with her husband. “My faith compels me to be out here,” she said. “That’s my main motivator.”
Tyler Lawson, 25, of Mt. Juliet is employed as a sheet metal worker in a union. He was at the Thursday protest but said he decided not to get arrested because he had to work the next day.
Paula E. Painter, 55, of Cumberland City, Tenn. has been unemployed since last year. Her last job was at a local museum, which she had to leave to care for her ailing father. She has been arrested and released on environmental issues over the years.
Shauna C. Pluskota, 25, of Nashville works as a bartender downtown. When she first heard about Occupy Wall Street, she and a friend jumped in a car and went for three days. “I guess now I’m an activist,” she said. “I came to that realization this morning when I walked out of jail.”
Alexandra Pusateri, 20, of Memphis works as a freelance journalist and is a junior at the University of Memphis majoring in journalism and international studies. She was involved with Occupy Memphis for about a month before coming to Nashville.
Megan L. Riggs, 25, of Nashville works for Tennesseans for Fair Taxation. She handed her cellphone and journal to her boyfriend and then went to lock arms with those being arrested.
Connie L. Smith, 30, of Murfreesboro works as a customer service representative in the retail industry, has one child and found the Occupy Nashville group on Facebook.
Ben Spencer, 22, of Murfreesboro is unemployed and essentially homeless, bouncing around from friend to friend and living in his car. He last worked with a summer camp in Vermont.
Robert “Jade” Stowater, 27, of Memphis works in construction. On Thursday, someone came up to him in Memphis and announced that a group was leaving for Nashville in five minutes and had one seat left. “I think we need to get the rich people pretty much off their butts,” he said.
Eva N. Watler, 34, of Pegram works as a massage therapist and has been with Occupy Nashville since the beginning. She was at the Centennial Park rally this month.
Michael T. Weber, 35, of Fayetteville, Tenn., has been unemployed for a little more than two years. Before to that, he was over international development for a foundation based in New York. He is originally from Tennessee and moved back here when he lost his job.
William White, 21, of Mt. Juliet has been unemployed since graduating from Whites Creek High in 2008. “I watched Occupy Oakland on Livestream and saw how those protesters were being treated, and I knew I just couldn’t sit and watch anymore,” he said. “I had to get involved.”
From: The Tennessean