In the New York Times's Thursday Styles section, contributor Helaine Olen talked to some liberal Manhattanites who took their children to Zuccotti Park to enrich them with “teachable moments” (i.e. using them as political props) and "to enlighten them on matters ranging from income inequality to the right to protest":“For Children’s Sake, Taking to the Streets.”
Malka Lubelski marched for economic justice last Sunday dressed as Minnie Mouse.
In a pink costume with white polka dots and black mouse ears, she circled Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street protests, carrying a homemade sign that read, “From the very young, the very old, we are the 99%.”
It would have been one more bit of street theater, except that Malka is 4, an age when girls are generally thought to be more interested in Disney characters than protest marches.
While her father, Abraham Lubelski, publisher of NY Arts magazine, talked about his decision to take Malka and her 1 1/2-year-old sister, Josepha, to the scene so they could “see real human needs,” Malka concerned herself with the more mundane needs of her baby sister, who had been sitting in her stroller munching contentedly on a vanilla ice cream cone till the ice cream tumbled onto her sweater.
“Dad,” Malka interrupted, pointing to her younger sibling.
And so it goes in the second month of Occupy Wall Street, where children are becoming an increasing presence as parents try to seize a “teachable moment” to enlighten them on matters ranging from income inequality to the right to protest.
Occupy Wall Street is hardly the first protest movement to include children. They were often present at civil rights marches, and more recently, boys and girls (complete with placards) have become a familiar presence at Tea Party events. There were children at Tahrir Square in Cairo, as well as at many other events that marked the Arab Spring.
One difference between children at OWS and children at Tea Party events: The Times apparently never wrote a flattering story on children attending the Tea Party rallies.
Olen rounded up some true believers, including one woman who has made the Occupy movement her religion.
Others said that they are simply so passionate about the cause, they’ve brought their children too many times to count. “I liken it to forcing them to go to church,” said Rivka Gewirtz Little, an organizer of the 99 Percent School, another group for parents who support the Occupy Wall Street movement. “It’s important for them to learn your beliefs.”