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Live Civil’s Top 7 Lively Civilians of 2011: Day 6

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 Dr. Cornel West

This year, Cornel West proved beyond measure that he’s as into physical and actual action as he is into the planning and cultivating of an idea.  As a political activist, philosopher, author, critic, and professor, West became the face of the underrepresented body of African-Americans at the world-inspired event of Occupy Wall Street earlier this year.  Standing as one of very few celebrities, politicians, and televised faces across the country to actually make an example out of all he preaches, he most importantly inspired and rallied alongside the much-needed new voices of our generation.

While Occupy Wall Street spread to the masses throughout more than 50 states and over 300 cities in the United States, it also sprouted in 82 countries and over 950 cities internationally.  With critically acclaimed books such as “Race Matters,” “The Future of Race,” and “Democracy Matters,” the Princeton, Harvard and Yale student, graduate, and professor has accomplished profound work which relates directly to the plight of the 99% versus 1% in America.

Demonstrating his freedom to protest alongside the Occupation participants, West was arrested on two separate occasions.  The first was on October 16th in Washington, D.C. on the steps of the Supreme Court, with his sign “Poverty is the Greatest Violence of All” read in simple and plain English.  The second was only 5 days later, on October 21st, during a protest in Harlem, NYC about the gratuitous and frequent frisking at the hands of hundreds of officers.

Even while the movement was criticized for being “unorganized,” West met with several different organizations, including representation on CNN and Fox News, about the importance of first raising awareness to the everyday citizens before demanding answers and change.  During the time many were attempting to encourage African-American followers, Cornel West stood as the most visibly popular and experienced of them all, to help ban together all of their separate walks of life for one cause.  Beginning in the 1970s and lasting throughout the 2010s, for over 40 years West has positioned himself as the most dedicated elder of our generation than anyone else.  We commend him for his valor, expertise, education, and civility ‘till the end.


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