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Occupy LA: Lucy Horwitz

Aaron Schrank |
October 8, 2011 | 10:40 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


Lucy Horwitz sat in a wheelchair outside city hall, clutching a sign that read, “The Beginning Is Near.” While the 79-year-old may look out of place in a sea of mostly young and bearded Occupy LA protesters, she’s been participating in protests since the Vietnam War.

Horwitz first came to America in 1940 to escape Nazi Germany and says she’s been politically conscious ever since. She describes herself as “outraged at what’s going on in this country between the rich and the poor,” and has taken the bus from Brentwood to city hall several days this week to show her support for the movement.

She has spent her life as a mathematics professor, and continues to teach at a Culver City adult learning center, an obligation that has prevented her from participating in Occupy LA every day. Halfway through her career, she went back to school to get a PhD in cognitive psychology at MIT, “to try to figure out why people have so much trouble with math.” 

Horwitz is proud to say she’s been arrested at demonstrations in the past and is even prouder to have two children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren who support her in her activism.

Peeling back her glove to reveal a wedding band, Horwitz says she’s been married four times, but her fourth husband was “by far the best”—a man she met at a Secular Jewish Humanists meeting when she was 76 and he 86. 

An “ardent Jewish atheist” who leans “far to the left of the democrats,” Horwitz describes her life as an ongoing quest for truth. 

“I think all religions are equal—they’re equally wrong,” Horwitz said. “I was attracted to the study of mathematics because it’s the only thing you can study where you know that it’s true, full of the truth.”

The veteran activist says her age is no barrier to her participation in Occupy LA.

“The one thing I can’t do is camp out here all night,” Horwitz said, gesturing toward the tent city behind her. “I wish I could, but it’d be tough to bring my sleeping bag and everything else with my wheelchair onto the bus.”

As the jumble of protestors behind her—from hemp advocates and HAARP conspiracy theorists to 99 percenters and “End the Fed” preachers—shouted on the city hall lawn, Horwitz said that while she wishes the group were more unified, she’s encouraged by the turnout.

“It’s great to see all the young people coming out and really getting angry about what’s going on.”



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