The Sounds Of Christmas From Around The World
GUY RAZ, HOST:
As I just mentioned, throughout this hour, we're going to check in with some of the people we've spoken with in 2011 to find out how their lives have changed since. One of the biggest stories of the year was the series of demonstrations across the country that came to be known as Occupy Wall Street. In October, we spoke with several protesters here in Washington, D.C. And there, we met 22-year-old Charles Zhu. He'd just graduated from Yale. Here's what he told us back then.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
CHARLES ZHU: There's a huge system out there between politicians, between corporate interests that really prevents the average Joe from being able to air out his concerns.
RAZ: Charles Zhu is here in the studio with me. Charles, listening to that, two months on, do you feel like these Occupy Wall Street protests have done what they set out to do?
ZHU: I think just the fact that a lot of people are talking about this, just the fact that a lot of young people, and I'm guessing many of them have never been this politically engaged, are out there on the streets and talking about questions that really matter, I think, that's one of the goals. I think it's very easy to think of this all in a political lens, but there's a social and cultural current that's moving and changing with this as well.
RAZ: You were about to start a new job when we did talk back in October. We don't want to say where you work, but safe to say it is not on Wall Street. You are not in finance.
ZHU: I'm not in finance.
RAZ: OK. You work for a climate change think tank, right?
ZHU: That's true.
RAZ: Have you had time to go back down to those protests?
ZHU: I've been there, I believe, once, but it gets hard to protest when you have a nine-to-five job.
RAZ: And so you're sort of facing the reality of having to just get on with life and pay your bills, and essentially, it means you don't have time to do that anymore.
ZHU: That's something that I don't think I would agree with. I think there are a lot of different ways of supporting these protests. This is something that I think we have all taken a long-term view on, in the sense that we want to continue thinking about these issues. And when the right opportunity comes along, to act on them as well.
RAZ: The Occupy Wall Street protests in New York have been dismantled and also in several other cities. Where does the movement go from here? What happens next? Does it fizzle out? Are we going to even be talking about Occupy Wall Street in 2012?
ZHU: I think absolutely. Just the fact that income inequality is on everyone's minds is a huge win. I mean, change doesn't happen with the physical manifestation of a movement. It happens gradually. There is progress, it is happening. Though maybe the physical manifestations of it are torn down, these ideas permeate through the future and do have influence.
RAZ: That's Charles Zhu. We met him back in October in an Occupy Wall Street protest here in Washington, D.C. Charles, thanks for giving us the update, and happy holidays.
ZHU: Happy holidays to you too.
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