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Posts Tagged ‘banks’

It seems like I am fighting an endless battle to get caught up on my blog posts.  I have some video to show of Anthony getting more items that I need to get edited and share with you and I also have some items for Garrett.  I saw him again today and agreed to meet him later to deliver the items but he wasn’t there when I returned.  I’ll keep trying.

Other day I checked my wallet and I had seven dollars in it so I went to the ATM and retrieved $100.  I then walked inside the bank and asked if I could get the twenty-dollar bills broken down into ten-dollar bills.  I shared with Catherine the idea of the Year of Giving and she got so excited.  “Ooh, I’d like somebody to give me $10!”

I left and headed home.  I went back to the bank with my notebook and camera about three hours later to see if Catherine was still there.  She was helping a customer and at first did not recognize me.  “She can help you at the next window,” she said as I waited while she attended to her customer.  I politely refused the help of the other teller explaining that I wanted to speak with Catherine.  When my turn came, she looked at me and recognized me.  She was so excited and ran around the other teller windows and came out on the left side to meet me.  Her energy was contagious. 

Catherine's smile is contagious. (photo: Reed)

I discovered that  27-year-old grew up in Ghana.  Her native language is Fanti, but she speaks perfect English in addition to speaking French and a Ga, another native language of Ghana.  Nine years ago she moved to Akron, Ohio to pursue a degree in Political Science.  Then in January she moved to DC to try to further her career; however it’s not been easy.  “I can’t find anything related to my career,” she told me.  She ended up accepting a job at the bank in order to pay her bills.  Her $1,000+ monthly rent is grossly more expensive than the $320 she paid for her place in Akron.   

Given her short time in DC and economic situation right now she says that she hasn’t gotten out much and has yet to meet a lot of new friends.  Thankfully she loves her coworkers at the bank.  “They’re great!” 

photo: Reed

She hopes to find a job in international development and possibly work with Africa.  At some point she says she hopes to return to Ghana.  “My dream is to run a HIV/AIDS awareness organization back in Ghana.”  I know that many readers of the Year of Giving are involved in that area of work and I hope they might be able to help Catherine.  Drop me a note and I will connect you with Catherine. 

As someone who works with money all day long, I was quite interested to know what she was going to do with the $10 I gave her.  “I’m going to put it toward gas,” she says.  It sounds like she could definitely use a little extra money too; she estimates that she has racked up more than $450 in parking and speeding tickets since moving here earlier this year.  Hmmm.  I might suggest the Metro as an alternative to get her to and from work!

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Remember Mike from Day 146?  You may recall that he works as a Physical Therapist at a Rockville, MD PT clinic.  He shared my story with his boss Bill.  They graciously offered for me to come in to their clinic at no cost for some PT sessions on my neck and back to see if I can improve the pain that I have.  Isnt’that incredibly nice of them!  It means a lot to me.  Thank you guys!  I look forward to the day when I no longer have pain and numbness in my neck, arm, and hand.

After my first session, I was feeling good.  I went out that day with a little more pep in my step and my posture a little better.  

Photo: Reed

Some days I find myself walking around the city…seeing potential recipients but never thinking that they are the right person for that day.  I passed all kinds of people who I debated giving my $10 to, but for some reason I kept on walking.  I walked all over the city, 67 blocks in total.  The light rain was just enough to keep my umbrella up the entire time, but I didn’t mind.  I started to get hungry though and decided to make my way over to John’s burrito stand.  On my way over my cousin Cheryl called and we talked until I came face to face with a large protest that had taken over the intersection of 15th and K Street.  The mix of angry cries for justice and police bullhorns trying to control the situation was making it difficult to talk on the phone, so we hung up and I went to find out what was going on.  This is when I ran into Joan.

Joan, a retired small business owner living in DC, was holding one end of a banner that read, “WE WANT OUR $$$ BACK!”  Although I hadn’t taken her money, in fact, I didn’t even know Joan, I hoped that my offer to give her $10 back might help her and her colleagues out.  Thankfully Joan wasn’t mad at me.  She was fed up with big businesses and lobbyists owning our government.  She feels that they have taken all the power away from the people.

Photo: Reed

As a CODEPINK activist , Joan actively participates in protests that the grassroots peace and social justice organization puts on.  The organization emerged out of a desperate desire by a group of American women to stop the Bush administration from invading Iraq.  On November 17, 2002 CODEPINK was launched when a group of women set up for a 4-month all-day vigil in front of the White House during the cold of winter. I wonder if they went over and spoke with Connie and Thomas at the Peace Vigil.  Anyway, they inspired people (mostly women) from all walks of life, and from all over the country, to stand for peace.  Now the organization has grown international.

Photo: Reed

On this specific day she was a little disappointed because CODEPINK received information about the protest very late which limits their ability to mobilize and produce a large turnout.  She cites messaging and timing as areas that need improvement in these types of protests.  Despite falling short of her expectations, the protest still managed to attract an estimated 1,000-1,500 people.  Plus it shut down a major corridor of transportation.  Their location at 15th and K was no coincidence given that K Street has long been home to a sea of lobbyist offices. 

As Joan and I started to talk, the mass of people began to march South on 15th Street.  I tagged along and pulled my video camera out and started to record.

Photo: CBS News

The march came to a halt near the White House and I parted ways.  Later they went on to Capitol Hill to voice their disapproval of BP at the Homeland Security Committee Senate hearing where BP America President Lamar McKay testified.  CBS News later reported that “only three Senators – Joseph Lieberman, Susan Collins, and Mark Pryor – of the 17-member Homeland Security Committee showed up to ask any questions at all.” In fact, Lieberman and Collins reportedly praised McKay for his cooperation and dismissed him in less than 45 minutes.

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