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Occupy L.A.: Quincy Clemons

Aaron Schrank |
October 8, 2011 | 10:49 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

A sign from the Occupy L.A. protest. (Didi Beck / Neon Tommy)
A sign from the Occupy L.A. protest. (Didi Beck / Neon Tommy)
Quincy Clemons is an artist who’s worried about the nation’s priorities and fearful for the future. At Occupy LA, he’s found a community who shares his concerns and is eager to discuss solutions.

Clemons calls on the U.S. to radically shift its foreign policy approach and to solve issues of poverty and hunger in the country.

As he admired his newly-minted marker art on a neighboring tent, Clemons said he’s most concerned about what the future looks like for children like his 8-year-old daughter.

“We have everything we need in this country—people shouldn’t be hungry here, or hungry anywhere. We shouldn’t be bombing people while we’ve got kids losing teachers, “ Clemons said. “I think our priorities are real messed up.” 

While the messages on the city hall lawn are many, Clemons believes they are the beginning of a conversation that will get national attention. The 36-year-old says this is the first time in his life he’s seen visible signs of revolution. 

“We need a shift in perspective,” Clemons said. “The youth are here to remind the old people that love is why we were all born. It’s a revolution, and either you’re down with revolution or you’re not.”

Clemons works as a waiter in a Canoga Park vegetarian restaurant to pay the bills, but is passionate about art. He works primarily as an oil painter but boasts street art roots, a life he gave up when he became a father. He identifies strongly with the Rastafari movement.

Cornell West, who spoke to Occupy L.A. protestors Friday, is one of Clemons’ heroes. Clemons describes West as “one of the few people who speak the truth to the masses.”

He also agrees with many of West’s criticisms of the Obama administration, but remains supportive of the president.

“The movement that elected him just kind of stopped and the wars continued,” Clemons said. “All the stuff that we set in place to fight the Bush-era tactics got put on hold or something.” 

For Clemons, ending wars should be the country’s top priority.

“To alleviate the financial situation in this country, the easiest thing to do would be to stop wars,” Clemons said. “We have a big fight ahead as far as dealing with the 1 percent, but I think it’s more important that we stop one or two of these wars. It’s getting absurd. We’re drowning all of our money into these things that aren’t going to produce anything good.”

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