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'Occupy Wall Street' Message Stretches to Harrison

HARRISON, N.Y. - Residents of Harrison don’t need to look far to get an inside look at the growing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. SUNY Purchase senior Zack Brady has lived and breathed the protests from the chants on the Brooklyn Bridge to the inside of a crowded holding cell in Manhattan.

“Being arrested [while at Occupy Wall Street] was the best thing that could have happened to me that day,” Brady said. “I wasn’t there to get arrested. I was more of an active observer.”

Brady joined classmates for the first time Oct. 1 as they trekked down to Manhattan to participate in Occupy Wall Street, which has grown into an international movement against corporate interests. Even after being arrested with hundreds of other demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Syracuse native returned to Zuccotti Park in New York two more times since with a renewed faith in political activism.

“The number one victory of Occupy Wall Street right now is that it has made people more politically aware,” Brady said. “It sparks all different kinds of communities. It’s a call to action.”

Purchase College hosted an open discussion Thursday night to raise awareness and encourage debate on the ongoing protests igniting from New York City. Brady was joined by several other interested students and faculty members, including political science Professor Karen Baird, who helped plan the event.

"A forum like this is supposed to be educational. We want everyone to learn about the issues of economic inequality, the recession, the financial industry and the lack of policies to address such issues," Baird said.

Baird traveled to the protests in New York to offer her services as a political science professor, she said. The Purchase discussion was part of a broader "What in the World is Going On?" discussion series to "drum up support for the protest movement and its issues."

As for Brady’s message to those on the other side of the Occupy Wall Street debate, he said he wished to see humility and courtesy.

“Be aware of how your actions affect those around you,” Brady said. “I only ask that those at the top think about the consequences of their actions.”

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