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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Canadian Teen Moves To L.A. For Occupy Movement

Tori Youngblood |
October 4, 2012 | 6:08 p.m. PDT


Josephine Burns (Tori Youngblood/Neon Tommy).
Josephine Burns (Tori Youngblood/Neon Tommy).
Josephine Burns’ idea of home is defined as a sleeping bag and a soup kitchen. She sits on the steps of Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles with nothing more than the clothes on her back and a small drawstring bag resting on her shoulder.

At 18 years old, she traveled from her hometown of Saskatchewan, Canada, to California to be a part of the Occupy Los Angeles movement and now resides in an anarchist community in downtown L.A. 

She works at a soup kitchen, called Hippie Kitchen, and said this is where she initially delved into the Occupy L.A. efforts.

“I just think it’s such a unique movement,” Burns said. “Last year I served food to the protesters of City Hall. The core group of people are just really cool."

Though she did not come to L.A. for school or work, she said her parents are thrilled she is here and taking part in something she is passionate about.

 “I always wanted to be involved in a political movement and it’s great to be around other young people who care about the same things,” Burns said.

Occupy L.A. began on Oct. 1, 2011, and was inspired by Occupy Wall Street in New York. Monday marked Occupy L.A’s one year anniversary.

Though Burns had to return to Canada for three months when her traveler’s visa expired, she said she is back and ready for more action for another six onths. She wants to continue to be a part of the movement, she said, because it reflects the woes caused by the current economy.

“It kind of started out as the banking crisis and home foreclosures and general greed in the government and corporations, but I’m also involved in a lot of peace activism in the community," Burns said. "There’s a lot of anti-Iraq war that’s going along with Occupy as well."

Burns is only one of many protesters who line downtown streets and rest on the steps of Pershing Square, content on continuing the movement they believe will provide a better life for them and an improved government for America. People from all walks of life gather here so that they could be surrounded by others who share in their drive for change.

Burns said she doesn’t have any specific goals for her future, but she hopes to continue being involved in community service and to remain an active member of the Occupy L.A movement. After a year of continued effort, she said she believes the world is beginning to pay attention to the protesters' beliefs.

“We have definitely built awareness," Burns said. "People know what Occupy is. It’s gotten a lot of good news coverage and it’s kind of became a household name."

Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the Occupy movement here.

Reach Contributor Tori Youngblood here.



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