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Charlestown Woman Participates in Occupy Protest

Lisa Doherty has been participating in the protest against the financial system since it began.

Lisa Doherty, 56, is a mother, a grandmother and a Charlestown native and she's been participating in the Occupy Boston protest since it began, weeks ago. 

On a recent afternoon, I stood with her on the sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue next to the Occupy encampment. Traffic whizzed by us. A steady drizzle was falling. But she had been standing there for hours, holding her sign, "People over profits." Some passers-by honked in approval. 

I asked her why she was so committed to the cause.

"Because we're on a slippery slope to hell and it's gotta stop," she said.

Doherty has been unemployed for the past three years. She was a mortgage loan processor and had been working full-time in Hawaii when she was laid off. She returned to Charlestown to be near her family. She has five grown children and seven grandchildren.

She's seen people in her family, in her community and all over the country work hard their whole lives and still suffer financially. And she said she's had enough. 

She got turned on to the Occupy movement in September, when she read (on Facebook, primarily) about the protests in New York. As soon as she heard a local demonstration was organized, she was in Dewey Square with the crowd.

She was there when protesters were blocked from crossing the Charlestown Bridge two weekends ago and she was there when who had set up a second encampment on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. 

(Did they use execessive force, in her opinion? Absolutely, she told me.)

Since she returned to Boston, she's had a few temporary jobs. She cares for an eldery relative in Charlestown. And these days, she's devoting her free hours to the protest. She is hopeful that it will encourage other frustrated Americans, but she isn't sure it will bring about the real change she thinks the country needs. 

And what's that change?

"I want to see a complete restructing of our financial system and government. I want corporations out of the government. I want them to have to break up. They can't monopolize the way they do. They cannot be treated as people," she told me. "We need to get rid of the corporatacy because that's what this has become."

There may not be many Charlestown residents participating in the Occupy Boston movement right now, Doherty said. She's seen a young man from the neighborhood there -- an ironworker -- and encourages others to check it out. 

Diane Grant October 18, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Go Lisa! Represent!
Mary Walsh October 19, 2011 at 10:49 AM
I've spent 5 days there, too, and agree with the need to restructure the financial system. Overturning Citizen's United and the many signs saying "Coprorations are not Poeple" seem to head the list. Naom Chomsky speaking on Saturday. should be fabulous. Hope to see you there.
PGRD October 19, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Without profits there are no jobs. Without banks businesses cannot get finance. This is the most misguided demonstration imaginable. The true culprits for our economic decline are in Washington. Their main objective is self-survival under any circumstances. They have no interest in what is good for the country. Congress is polarized and dominated by extremists who have no concept of what it means to compromise.The reform of government is what is needed and this what the " Occupy " movement should focus on.
Kristi Ceccarossi October 20, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Peter, I think if you look closer at what protesters are complaining about, you'll see that they are calling for reform of the government. Lisa Doherty herself (the subject of this story) says she wants to see an end to the corporatocracy. Their complaint is that our elected leaders are beholden to the corporate and financial interests that elect them. How would you propose fixing that problem?

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