Even though Occupy San Francisco’s camp at Justin Herman Plaza was removed this month, it has not disappeared. I believe one of the reasons is the diversity of the movement in San Francisco.
The narrative from the mainstream media has for the most part been based on generalizations and stereotypes. In many cases they have demonized those that take part in the movement.
My experience interviewing and photographing Occupy participants for the last three months has given me a different perspective. I found that there are people from all walks of life; occupy spans generations young and old. Furthermore I believe San Francisco’s Occupy movement cannot be simply stereotyped. Yes there are individuals who are homeless, and others that had addiction issues. In my opinion they are part of society as well and should have a voice. In reality there are many shades of grey and levels of participation. To pigeonhole Occupy San Francisco is not really possible.
Another factor that adds to the diverslty of the movement, is each individual's unique perspective and life experience. This contributes to its sucess, solidarity, and staying power.
Matthew Van Saun is a freelance photographer based out of the Bay Area. He has extensive experience traveling in South East Asia particularly Thailand, Laos, and Burma. His passion for immigrant rights, refugee issues and health education help shape his photography.
Matthew's main goal is to expose human rights issues to the public, by creating photo essays that are emotional and thought provoking.
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