In the 1960s there was a draft.
In the 1960s young people went to the streets, burned their draft cards in protest for being conscripted into the military to fight a war they didn't believe in.
In the 1960s and before African Americans in the south weren't allowed to vote through many conniving laws that made this right almost impossible to carry out.
In the 1960s black children couldn't attend the better schools that the white student attended. They also couldn't live in white neighborhoods. They were denied many basic rights that other Americans took for granted.
They, as well, rebelled. They participated in massive acts of nonviolent direct action, such as sit-ins at Woolworth counters in the South, boycotting buses in Montgomery, AL.
Today, in the 2010s, many of our young people and some older folks are without jobs even though they received educations that were supposed to guarantee them stunning careers that would pay off student debts and allow them to start lives as contributing adults to the civil society.
In the 2010s, millions of families have found themselves put out of their homes because of foreclosures in ever mounting numbers. Sacrifices to pay monthly mortgages in the thousands of dollars count for nothing. Those still in their homes have found their home values evaporate like a morning dew.
Near the 2010s, the US government gave billions of dollars to US financial institutions to prevent a national financial collapse we were told. Many of those funds went for bonuses to millionaire CEOs, who laughed all the way to their yachts while pink slips were handed out to employees all along the boulevard along the way.
Meanwhile college loans take over grants and scholarships and students find themselves graduating with loans the size of mortgages, and having no way to even start payments since they have no jobs.
We in the 1960s always wondered when the young would take over the mantle and carry on the fight for social justice in this country and beyond.
The time has come. It is today. It is in more than 800 communities around the globe in the form of Occupy Wall Street groups.
These people....both young and old....are mad and aren't going to take it any longer.
My advice to the other old timers like myself. Let the leaders of this movement be our young people. We have fought many battles, some of which we won and some which we lost. And we can also fight this battle, but this is the time for our young people to take leadership.
Let's pass our flame of passion onto them. Let's follow, but be open to share our wisdom, advice and experience when asked.
This is a new dawn of activism once more in America, and the leaders do not have silver crowns like mine, but instead black, blond, red and even dreadlocks crowns, accented with tattoos in some cases. They have babies. Many own very little, but have so much to gain by this experience.
Let's be there for them, help make the critical mass, testify for them, write letters to the editor for their movement, then step back and let them develop a form of reform that speaks to the needs and wants of the 2010s.