November 19, 2011

In News

Frances Goldin: 87-Year-Old Protester and Proud of It

She tried but couldn’t get herself arrested on Occupy Wall Street’s Day of Action

Veteran activist Frances Goldin, 87, shows us what inspires her to remain an activist through the years.Among the hordes of Occupy Wall Street protesters, Frances Goldin stands out: the 87-year-old literary agent and activist has a tuft of purple hair and carries a sign that reads, “I’m 87 and mad as hell.”

She may not look like the typical Zuccotti Park demonstrator, but she believes in the mission to close the income equality gap and to promote social justice. For decades, Goldin has demonstrated and stood for the rights of the disenfranchised.

“I’ve been arrested nine times for civil disobedience; I want to be arrested 12 times,” Goldin told NBC New York. “And I was sure I’d be arrested today, but the cops were determined because of the bad publicity for them, to not arrest an 87-year-old woman.”

She recalled her conversation with an officer Thursday morning as hundreds of protesters marched toward Wall Street.

“I said, ‘What if I socked you in the eye?’ and he said, ‘I’d give you a free shot,'” Goldin said. “‘Well, what if I kneed you in the groin?’ and he said, ‘No, you’re not going to get arrested!'”

Goldin says the first time she was arrested was decades ago at Cooper Square. She and others were protesting Robert Moses’ urban renewal plan. When they were able to stop the plan, she became inspired to remain an activist throughout her life.

From protesting Vietnam to pursuing Mumia Abu Jamal’s release, Goldin has seen it all.  But there was something about the Occupy Wall Street movement that touched her.

“Their spirit, their dedication, their love,” she said. “It’s like food, it gives you energy.”

That energy allowed her to cross the Brooklyn Bridge in early October along with other protesters. She hopes this energy will allow her to continue supporting the movement until social justice is a reality.

“I think what this group has done is let people understand the disparity and that our government is not taking care of the 99 percent.”