The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Christie Frango:
2012 Winner
FDNY Engine 260

Christie Frango

Winning Essay

I really didn’t take an initial interest in the occupy Wall Street movement until I heard my father say, “They are only hippies and homeless looking for a hand out.” Being a curious teenager I felt if my father was judging by appearance maybe it was time for me to become informed. I know my generation can sometimes look and act weird to an adult. The name “Wall Street” scared me, and I had no initial interest. I am only a teenager who comes from a working, middle class family; does Wall Street actually affect me? As I looked and listened to the movement’s initial complaints I realized that this was something that was having a direct impact on me, so I followed closely.

The movement is promoting economic fairness, social equality and big corporation’s greed’s and influences on the government. Occupy Wall Street started out as basically younger people fighting high unemployment, no job mobility and big Wall Street bonuses. I felt that the movement’s biggest protest was how big corporations had such a great impact on politics. Why would the government bailout banks that practiced risky lending? Whatever happened to Laissez Faire? Hands off the private sector big brother!

The “Great Recession,” as its known, was started by excessive mortgage lending, competition between lenders to make money, bad underwriting standards and risky lending. The banks made profits lending money. The rich invested in companies tied to these corporations and they got richer. Then the bottom fell out and the average working person who thought they actually qualified for these high loans now could not afford them. Some lost their homes others just realized the American dream of the streets paved with gold was not to be. But the rich got richer. In the end the banks started to falter and the economy started to crash. In stepped the government with the Tarp program to bailout the banks and the rick still got richer. In the end the government bailouts cost every American higher taxes, and the rich got even richer.

Occupy Wall Street’s rally cry is “We are the 99%.” What they are saying is that one percent of the American population owns over one third of its wealth. Occupy Wall Street protesters fall into the 99% of Americans struggling to find work at a fair wage. As a graduating high school senior this affects me. The job market seems bleak, it’s scary. My mother and father have worked hard to save for my college education; and they have sacrificed many things to better my future. Will I be able to find employment after such a large investment toward my future? Or will the rich just get richer? I have to believe that the job market will get better; if I didn’t there would be no use in trying to better myself. How can the American Government let corporate greed continue? Or will the rich just keep getting richer? Hands off, the government needs to let corporate greed and profits take a back seat to the working man. This country was built on hard work and equality to our fellow man. Don’t lose focus and kill the American dream.

The occupy Wall Street movement started out slowly then reached a full head of steam. What seemed to be “hippies and homeless,” now was getting media and political attention. The problem with the movement was it lacked a common goal. Many other organizations joined the protest to get their message out. It’s missing one voice to convey its message. Occupy Wall Street needed to put a face on its message.

America loves its hero’s, the military, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Firefighters, Police officers, our teachers and the NY Giants. All of these people and groups are very organized. They have a common goal, common voice and prepare hard to reach their objective. The occupy Wall Street movement at times seemed very disorganized. Americans like to see its hero’s organized and reach their goals. Occupy Wall Street needs organization, needs a common goal with one voice and one movement.

America was built on great protests. The Stamp Act and the Townshend Act led to colonist revolts and ultimately a revolution that freed us from foreign rule. The revolt had one goal in common and was very organized and focused. The Woman’s Suffrage Movement of the late 1800’s led to woman’s right to vote and hold office, one goal and one movement. The Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s was against segregation. Protests led to boycotts, sit-ins, voter organizations, marches and many federal cases and decisions. The voice of Marin Luther King and rally cries like “I have a dream” and “we will overcome!” had one goal, one movement. The Vietnam War protest of the 1960’s which brought to light some of the atrocities that happened in Vietnam and the dislike of the draft. The rally cries of “hell no we won’t go” and “make love not war” also had one goal and one movement.

Some of these protests took years to achieve their goals. It takes a long time for things to change. Occupy Wall Street is in its infancy stages. It has a great theory of separating corporate greed from politics, but the rich are getting richer, which is not an easy change. The movement needs time to achieve its goals and needs to be clear on its message and needs to move in one direction.

The movement accomplished one goal which was getting its message out. The Occupy Wall Street movement needs to realize it is fighting big money. The law makers in America for the most part are the rich. Any change in the laws might have a direct effect on the money the politicians make off of the big corporations. The rich get richer and make the laws to make themselves richer.

Rallies are a great action to bring attention to your cause, but rallies get old and start to inconvenience the people you are trying to help. Rallies need to extend to different forms of protest to be more effective. Movements need to be flexible, motivating and creative. They need to focus on the organizations that you want to affect the most. Occupy Wall Street didn’t have a specific way in wanting to stop corporate greed. Some governments use embargos on countries that don’t follow United Nations rules. The colonist didn’t want to pay the high price of tea so they dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor. The Civil rights movement fought against segregation with sit-ins against stores, boycotted business, marches and voter organizations. The most recent protest, the Arab Spring, took to the streets with direct violence against its government and militaries.

The occupy Wall Street movement needs to be creative and come up with ways to effect corporations that it is protesting against. Some banks recently wanted to charge customers for the right to have an ATM card. Many customers withdrew there money from these banks enough for the bank to take notice and change the new fee. Verizon recently wanted to charge customers a fee for paying their bills online. This lead to Verizon being inundated by emails that customers were taking their business elsewhere. Verizon revoked this fee.

In my own family we don’t fly any airline but Jet Blue. This is because my family refuses to pay a fee for our bags. Jet Blue has gone from a small local airline to one of America’s largest airlines during a time when this industry was suffering bankruptcies to its major carriers. I guess this subtle boycott is catching on.

The occupy Wall Street movement needs to be specific in the companies it wants to effect, name names, point the finger, give your movement direction. Put a face on the enemy and come up with a game plan to stop what you feel are inappropriate actions. Boycott these companies, their power is in money, let them see their bottom line change. Let corporations that are greedy feel that greed is not okay and put a face on the people who are affected by their greed. Organize your organization voters into a voting bloc. We are the 99% lets balance this off a little bit with a fair tax balance. Let the rich pay their share.

My thoughts are at times scattered all over the place much like the occupy Wall Street movement. This is because we both are a younger generation. As time goes on we will mature and become organized and focused on our goals. Maybe these are dreams but our fore fathers had a dream of a free country. Martin Luther King had a dream of racial equality. The occupy Wall Street movement has a dream of stopping corporate greed and the government becoming responsible to the hard working people of this country. Where have honesty, morals and fortitude gone?


We would like to wish Christie Frango the best of luck moving on to Molloy College. Congratulations!

My name is Christie Frango. I am currently 17 years old, but by the time this is published I would have celebrated my 18th birthday. I am an only child but considering my dog Bella is family, you can say I have a sister. My parents are Jay and Denise Frango and we live in Howard Beach, New York. My mother is a school aid at P.S 174 in Rego Park. My father is a firefighter in Engine 260 in Long Island City. I am going to be a proud graduate of St. Francis Preparatory High School in Fresh Meadows, Queens. My best subjects have always been Math and History, which high school has allowed me to explore and thoroughly enjoy. I only discovered my favorite subject my sophomore year, which is music. I started playing the violin in a beginners’ strings class and immediately found my passion. Music made me realize that practice and patience is the key to success. In my senior year I had such an amazing opportunity to be a part of my schools Honors Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. This year I have also been inducted into the Italian National Honors Society, which will help me communicate with others when I travel to Europe this summer.

High school went by quickly, but I am ready to start my new chapter in college. I will be attending Molloy College in Rockville Centre. There I will be attending their nursing program. Through my volunteer work I have decided that nursing is the right career for me because it allows me to help and care for many people.

I am honored to have received a Scholarship in Christopher Santora’s name. Christopher has been blessed with such amazing family and friends that have chosen to carry on his passion for education through this scholarship. I have also been very blessed with my family, friends and opportunities given to me these past 18 years and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

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