Where Are They Now, Occupy Wall Street Edition: Colbert Report's Justin and Ketchup
Before Occupy, Ketchup--who still goes by that name--lived in Chicago. She was a recent Northwestern graduate, a theater major, working on a web series about "social and ecological justice issues" when she read the call for activists to come occupy Wall Street in Adbusters.
Ketchup figured she'd talk to folks at protest and get some footage for her web series, but, she says now, "I got very involved pretty quickly, and kind of let that fall off for the time that I was in New York."
She was only in Zuccotti Park for a total of six weeks. "By the time I left New York I was in a very difficult-to-cope-with place, emotionally, which is something I've heard echoed by a lot of other people who were involved," Ketchup says.
"It was a very difficult experience because, even without witnessing or experiencing police brutality, which was very real and traumatic," within the protest community, she says, "people's emotions and tensions were running very high."
That aspect wasn't confined to Zuccotti Park, either. Back in Chicago, she found a similar dynamic at work in that city's Occupy protest. It's part of the reason Ketchup is no longer active in the movement.
Another part has to do with her appearance on Colbert. "I was little bit paralyzed by it--concerned that I had maybe not adequately expressed whatever people within the movement might have wanted me to be expressing, and I think it was part of why I kind of, sort of disappeared off the face of the earth," she says. "I was just very worried that anything I said would be taken as representative of Occupy and that's just a big load to bear."
She's still in Chicago today, working full time (although she declines to say what she does, or to even name the industry) and still working on that web series too.
"I went to school to be an artist and I think my greatest contribution can be as an artist," Ketchup says."This is the avenue that I have always wanted to take and plan to continue to take. I think there is more than one way to be an activist, and this is my way."
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