Occupy Denver: City Council's Susan Shepherd calls protests most important thing in country

Susan Shepherd.jpg
Susan Shepherd.
This weekend, in a crowd estimated between 2,000 and 4,000 people, Susan Shepherd managed to stand out. The Denver City council member represents District 1 in an official capacity, but in the few days since her first rally with Occupy Denver, she has stepped out as a staunch supporter of the ideals behind the national and local action. This morning, The Latest Word spoke to the city councilwoman, mother and occupation supporter about the future of the city's relationship with a group it has pepper-sprayed. (Teaser: She remains optimistic.)

Westword: What inspired you to take a public stance in support of Occupy Denver?

Susan Shepherd: I grew up in a working poor family in the 1970s, and my mom worked forty hours a week. There was just never enough money to pay all the bills, so she would make choices like giving up a phone, a car or electricity to put food on our table. Our house was foreclosed on when I was young, and I remember all of that happening. As an adult, I've been unemployed, underemployed and sick without insurance. I've used the ER without insurance and paid that price. All of these things are ones that the people down in the movement are expressing grave concerns about, and I've experienced them, too. It's just natural for me to be down in the movement.

Occupy Denver Jenn 1.jpg
Jenn Wohletz
Supporters gather for an Occupy Denver demonstration at Civic Center Park.
WW: What was your impression of the rally you attended on Saturday?

SS: To be honest, I thought it was amazing. I was really moved by the incredible range of people from all walks of life who were there. There's something that's resonating with people there, whether they're gainfully employed and handling all of their bills or not. A lot of people are just struggling to make it these days, and that's a lot of the people I saw down there. It was working people and not-working people, but we were all there for the same reasons.

I saw several of the constituents from my neighborhood. I saw union members, youth, disabled people, older folks, people of different races and identities, even children. There was a kid who stood up and said, "I am here because I want to have a future." He was an eight-year-old kid speaking on behalf of himself and his little sister, and that was absolutely the most compelling thing I've seen so far. We need to be thinking about what we're leaving for future generations. I have a three-year-old son, and that's something I can relate to.



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55 comments
NaiveNoMore
NaiveNoMore

The Tea Party is much smaller, when you subtract the retirees who were paid and brought in on tour buses for a nice "day trip."

Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker

"It's an inevitable fact that change in this country has not happened by people acting legally, judging by all the people in the civil rights movement. And our founding fathers weren't acting legally when they founded this country."

It is obvious which kind of kool-aid Ms. Shepherd has been drinking, the Liberal kind.

Our founding fathers were obeying a higher law, God's law. Their whole protest was based on the premise that the King of England was breaking that higher law, and THAT FACT justified our breaking away from England to form our own country and form a system of government that WOULD obey that higher law, and recognize the rights that God gives to all people, and protect those rights from usurpation by their government in the new United States of America.

The fact that our government has strayed from its purpose of protecting our God given rights is the whole point of the TEA party. That differs from the purpose and goals of the 'Occupy' movement, because those people have "discovered" new "rights", like "the right to healthcare" and "the right to a guaranteed income" that are definitely NOT rights, because they compel innocent citizens to give up their right to property and come up with the money to make them possible.

True God given rights don't cost others anything. My right to free speech costs you nothing UNLESS you want to silence me. Your "right to free healthcare", on the other hand, demands that I pay extra taxes to provide it. That means that it cannot possibly be a right, because it demands others give up their rights!

TEA Party = belief in the U.S. Constitution, liberty, freedom, individual and property rights"Occupy" movement = socialism, communism, "collective" rights for their favorite groups

MountainLyin
MountainLyin

Bless You Susan Shepherd!!!  

At least this city/state has ONE honest and courageous person in office!!!

Francisco Cordova
Francisco Cordova

I believe Occupy Denver/USA  is about the the greedy CEO/CFO's lining their pockets with profits after we the tax payers bailed them out. This is not about Replubicans Democrats, Independents. This is about the banks paying it forward without the taxpayers and Obama's efforts the CEO/CFO's would be on the streets like the pictures from the Great Depression WAKE UP>

Rsober1021
Rsober1021

Susan is a typical idiot, she has never starved, been forclosed on or knows what a real hard time may be. The people protesting have no clue what they are protesting for, none of them work, they don't invest and in fact most of them don't have a care in the world. On welfare, lazy, want handouts and free stuff, that is all these people are so someone says I will support you with food if you go downtown and protest.

Doctornamtab
Doctornamtab

What is with the all the Joe McCarthy here on these comments? This is crazy. You do realize that you can't call just someone a commie and not back it up with reasons WHY THESE IDEAS ARE WRONG. Its not the 1950's anymore people. There are plenty of reasons to dislike capitalism, just go down to the Capitol building and ask someone. They can explain themselves and their discontent. Can you?

For many young people capitalism HAS NOT WORKED. It has not lived up to its promise. We got degrees, we're applying for these jobs we were promised and for nothing. We lived up to our end of the bargain. The economy didnt. This is why we're upset. We're in debt with nothing to show for it. This is why socialism is a true part of the discussion for young people. Because capitalism has not worked for us.

So when you point your finger and scream "Socialist Pinko Commie!" you actually have to explain why its a problem to be a socialist, pinko commie. Because there are hundreds of people at the Capitol building more than ready to tell you the problems with capitalism.

johninlongmont
johninlongmont

can the honorable councilwoman tell us JUST WHAT THESE PEOPLE ARE FOR?...they seem to want to take the money from the top 1% and redistribute it to themselves?....THAT IS WHAT SHE IS FOR?

NotRed
NotRed

Susan Shepherd's true color?  Red.

Pete Zeigler
Pete Zeigler

Another stupid vacuous zealot attains a position of power and sides with the flavor of the month. Denver is toast. 

Guest
Guest

I'm glad Susan Shepard has openly come out on the side of the American Nazi Party, the Communist Party USA, George Soros (Nazi Collaborator, turned Communist) all of the Soros front groups as well as all of the other treason-crats and useful idiots to support the violent overthrow of the United States Government. The "Occupy" groups are openly calling for murder and violent revolution and she's right there to giver her full support.  It makes it crystal clear who she is, who she stand for and who we're not going to put up with.

Shredder
Shredder

Thank you Susan Shephard for informing the voters by opening your mouth.  What a nitwit!These are the leaders you elect in Denver.  A rubber stamp city council for the mayor.  All democrats with no counter balance.  Say goodbye to the Stock Show under their leadership.Way to go Councilwoman Shephard, you are a useless piece of machinery.

Guest
Guest

Where were you Ms Shepherd when the Tea Party (a far larger group of citizens) were gathered in larger numbers at the Capitol? You didn't support them. And that movement has had no violence nor racism but the OWS movement surely has. Such pandering to special interest groups. And dangerous one's at that. Backed by every left wing radical group available. Communists, leader of Arab Spring movement (radical violent and deadly for Christians, Jews, and muslim dissenters), socialists, CAIR (front for radical jihadists, and so on. All trying to collapse the capitalist system. Susan Shepherd if you want to live in a communist society... leave and go elsewhere. Don't help pull a "Cloward and Piven" move, here in the USA. You looked at what the protestors looked like? Really? So what to violent jihadists, communists, and unionist's look like? Ordinary people until they want to put their dangerous ideology into play. You are woefully ignorant or willfully informed and choose to play games with our American way of life.

Kcm2
Kcm2

Could the reporter follow up and find the city council members who were there Friday morning for the arrests and query them on their views?

Sundari Kraft
Sundari Kraft

I am a resident of District 1, and I am so proud to have Susan Shepherd as my councilwoman. I'm happy that she not only "gets it" as far as the Occupy protest goes, but that she's willing to put her money (and her political capital) where her mouth is and take a public stand. I am so tired of elected officials who are afraid to go out on a limb and actually speak up for the issues that matter to their constituents. Given the Mayor's stance toward the protesters so far, it could be seen as politically risky to come out publicly in favor of Occupy Denver -- yet this freshman Councilperson stood up for what she believes in. 

Way to go, Councilwoman Shepherd! You have my support in your efforts.

Cubuff
Cubuff

I stole this from another post. It is a good questionWhat would SS say if she knew the University of Colorado Boulder is allowing select employees a method to increase their salaries despite a classified employee pay increase freeze? If you want to know how follow this discussion. The University of Colorado Boulder is allowing select employees to reclassify from the state system of classified employees to a classification of Professional Exempt employees. Under the Professional Exempt employee classification select employees are receiving up to a 130% increase in salary. To steal more tax payer money, and more student fee funds, few of the Professional Exempt employees meet minimum job skill and education requirements. Supervisors, who are in the Professional Exempt classification, write job descriptions few, if any, potential job seekers match other than the individual they seek to move from a State Classified position and reward them with a huge salary increase under the Professional Exempt classification. If you are not aware where your tax dollars go or, if you are a parent paying student fees at the University of Colorado Boulder, now you know how you are swindled out of your taxes and tuition/fees under the current corrupt system of Professional Exempt employee classification at the University of Colorado Boulder. SS isi a represents the city of Denver so she might have contacts at the state level.

zigguratmonk
zigguratmonk

Yes, I like her attitude and the message. People are out protesting a real problem, so instead of spending tens of thousands using police to try to control and shut them down start focusing on those problems. I hope more elected officials listen to her. You do represent the people after all. 

Shredder
Shredder

Gag me with a spoon.She is a rubber stamp on the city council.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

"none of them work" -- what is this weird impulse that causes people like you to seek a public forum to tell obvious lies?  I suppose that you all are so stupid as to think that you can get away with telling them.  Come down on Saturday and you will see thousands of people with jobs protesting!

Bootsie
Bootsie

Have you met Susan Shepherd?  

Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker

The problem is not that "capitalism hasn't worked", but rather that our government is bought by, and run for the special interests. That's OUR fault because we've elected slimy crooks who sold out the people. We do that because our laws (17th Amendment, direct election of Senators) permit it, by letting those special interests buy ads for the elections, and people vote according to the sound byte ads, rather than research into the candidates and their positions.

Business is bad because taxes are high and regulations are a circus that stomps on new business.

Taxes are high because our government wasts too much money on corrupt boondoggles like Solyndra, rediculous overpriced defense contracts, and "safety net" programs that buy them votes, but keep part of our population in the poverty of the welfare cycle.

Regulation is too high (end the EPA!!!) because the politicians buy votes from loons (the Sierra club) with promises to prevent anything bad from happening, ever, an impossible proposition whose attempts at implementation drive the economy further and further down.

Everything the "occupy" protesters want has been and sill is already available: North Korea, Cuba, the former U.S.S.R. Those places prove that what they want does not work.

America grew to be the most prosperous nation with the lowest poverty rates in the world by protecting individual rights (property!!!) instead of wasting our taxes on "social programs". We've gotten so far away from that, that you can't call what we have now capitalism, at all!

Pete Zeigler
Pete Zeigler

 Hey drama queen, you can't change 200 thousand years of human behavior by taking a dump on a cop car. And if you want to live in a socialist country, you will have to move to one. There are far too many who will not just sit by and let spoiled, lazy children take over.  We have educated ourselves on your tactics and your motivations, and as much as it may enrage you, we do not share your simplistic Utopian vision. Bring it, we are ready.

Shredder
Shredder

Hey, if capitalism does not work for some young people what is your alternative?Let me guess, spread the wealth baby!You little creep go get a job.

Bootsie
Bootsie

Why don't don't you go down and ask them.  It seems that the top 1% want to take money from the tax payers and hand it over to themselves and the private sector.  Just look at the bailout money the banking industry has taken from us, and what did we get in return?  Nothing.  Banks are not lending to grow small businesses or jobs.   And they end up charing more fees just to spend your own money.  That's what this is about.

Just look at the Denver School Board race and the BIG money being spent on so-called "reform" candidates who want to privatize public education with more charter schools.  That's part of what this protest is about.   

The wealthy over influencing the electorate our democracy.   In my district of NW Denver, I question why a millionaire in Greenwood Village needs to contribute to $125k for a school board race, in my neighborhood, where he doesn't even have kids in DPS, nor live here.   That's what part of this protest is about. 

job
job

Aye it appears Aurora is the place to do business. Way to go democraps

Bootsie
Bootsie

Ah right... like all those tea party members with their racist Obama signs and other signs saying "we came unarmed ...this time" or the tea party thugs who beat up a woman holding a sign last year at a Rand Paul apperance.  

job
job

Ditto beautifuly written.

job
job

The protest is the lefts version of the tea party,without the organization of a true party. Soon they will protesting other things like the Israel and Philistine issue. I love it when leftist politicians come out of there hiding spots. It really shows who is behind this socialist movement.

NaiveNoMore
NaiveNoMore

CU President Benson gets $360 K per year, and he doesn't even have a PhD.

Shredder
Shredder

I hope they come to your property and crap all over your house and lawn versus the Capital.Why don't you and Susan Shephard have a rally in your neighborhood with these fools.

Shredder
Shredder

Yahooooo!  Yeaaahhhhh!C'mon down and smell the beauty of a movement that stinks of manipulation.

Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker

One (undocumented) incident at a Ron Paul rally, vs. hundreds of OWS protesters arrested for violently blocking traffic (Brooklyn bridge), etc.?

TEA party:Peaceful calls for our government to conform to the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution, and for our elected officials to honestly perform their duty.

vs. "Occupy" protesters:Calls for a violent revolution and instituting communist government, against the will of the majority?

You need to take off the Public Education Monopoly installed blinders.

Guest
Guest

If you want to discuss the "racism" issue in regards to either the Tea Party or the Occupy Wall Street movement then do know that no movement bare's anyone from attending these rallies or protests. I can say that there is a lot of racially inflammatory signs especially of those in NYC and once again it seems to be anti-Jew hatred at a lot of these "Occupy" events. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bil.... Watch the video discussion on this link with Bernie Goldberg in it. The MSM is again a problem with it's innate bias. 

Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker

The TEA party is the larger group, when you discount the number of paid protesters (union thugs, Sorros paid MoveOn types), and the people who don't work, but "vote for a living".

Guest
Guest

The Tea Party rallies were much larger. I've been to just about all of them. So I can say personally that the Tea Party numbers were higher. Got a terrific photo to prove it. The Denver Post reported, "5,000 attend tax-day 'tea party' at Capitol" on April 15, 2009. According to the NY Daily News there were only some 2,000 protestors for the Occupy Denver event. 

 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Five morons and counting!  How did you discover our secret plan to throw the election to Obama?  The Philistine issue has been on the back burner for 2,800 years, and we were waiting until just the right moment to attack Israel and announce our support for the Philistines, but you've ruined it!

NaiveNoMore
NaiveNoMore

And the Tea Party tried to bill themselves as a non-organized grassroots movement... and failed miserably, because it was all funded by Koch.

Gordon Soderberg
Gordon Soderberg

The tea Party backed by the Koch brothers has brought out all the crazies in the right wing. KKK has new hope with the rich and ignorant.

Cubuff
Cubuff

That is correct. Benson supports and surrounds himself with non-credentialed, non degreed, barely literate sycophants who have no stake in operating a quality academic, nationally recognized institution of higher education. Other non-academic departments at the University of Colorado Boulder have followed Benson’s lead and rewarded themselves heavily with pay raises, promotions, golden benefit packages and, of course, the rouse of being a PAC 12 quality institution. Wait for the exit of top academic staff who are not rewarded under Benson’s system.

Doctornamtab
Doctornamtab

Well you obviously haven't even been to these protests because the Capitol is cleaner than its been in years. The homeless are being fed. Protestors, average people, are cleaning up after themselves. Not city workers. Protestors. So head down there, obseve and talk to people before you judge.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You are an ignoramus and a fool.  Try substituting direct experience for what you are being told to think.  The Occupation is governed by all those who participate in its general assemblies, held every day at 3:00 and 7:00.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Can you read other people's comments before leaping to unjustified conclusions?

Shredder
Shredder

Hey dummy,  is that like your Democrat hero Robert Byrd.HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

job
job

LOL kkk to funny

Cubuff
Cubuff

rouse - the excitement of being a PAC12 memberruse- trick, a deceptionI like ruse better in Benson's name.

Shredder
Shredder

Like I said, stage a rally in your neighborhood if it so great.Don't be afraid, be proud.  Your neighbors will have open arms right?

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