Last week I was reluctantly let go from my position at a NYC Congressman's office after five years of service -- a position I held alongside the pursuit of music and ultimately lost from severe budget cuts. Now don't worry about me, I'm doing just fine, if only trying to wrap my head around how the men touting job creation just literally took mine away. In either case, at the age of twenty-seven, I find myself out of work. I now have no income stream, no savings, no benefits and loads of college debt. I'll have to figure how to pay rent, afford Hulu Plus to see the latest Parks and Rec, and provide generally for my Brooklyn household (girlfriend + cat). From the statistics alone I know almost every one of us on this 3,500+ list suffer from some version of this mess.
It's made worse in that I was given the built-in advantages for the modern global economy - a white male raised in a comfortable suburb with a world-class education. But something much broader is happening here. My friends who are passionate about law and medicine are spending years and small fortunes on graduate programs with little assurance of economic stability. My friends working as teachers, non-profit workers, public servants and social workers are lucky to survive while trying to do a very basic good. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are stonewalled by the mere financial barriers of entry. The price of access is too high to even begin. As my musician friends can attest, the costs to record and market an album, hire a band and play shows out of town are incomprehensible. I potentially have a very big opportunity to make a record with a label this winter, but it could bankrupt me. Unless, of course, Pitchfork decides I'm the harbinger of cool.
We're not class warriors, I too would like to be filthy rich. But it seems that unless we either work in financial services or have a tremendous amount of start-up capital and access, the walls of access right now to the American Dream are too high. I'm not here to make the substantial statistical case for unique economic inequality in our time. But I shouldn't have to spend the rest of my life paying for an education that won't guarantee any future stability. I shouldn't be forced to work in the finance sector in order to feel merely financially secure. I shouldn't have to wish I was born on the right side of the street in order to access the simplest form of equal opportunity that our parents did. Rags-to-riches stories have gone the way of the cassette tape.
Together, we have to remember that it's vocalizing our demands as a generation on Facebook and on the street that leads to political action, and not the other way around. Civil rights marchers couldn't wait around for JFK, and young people today can't wait around for Obama. So go post this clip with something snarky, it works all the time at Knicks games. Or do something else - buy an ice cream cake! I express my voice through our rock n roll band and horns, and ask you to join me. Let's Occupy the CMJ Festival for FREE next week in NYC, then Boston and Washington.
Announcing the DannyRoss 2011 Laid Off Tour
#Dannyrossandhorns Occupy CMJ (Official Showcase)
Saturday Oct 22 - 7:30pm Sharp
@ The Living Room, 154 Ludlow St at Stanton - NYC
FREE! // Facebook Event Page
#Dannyrossandhorns Occupy Boston
Sunday October 30, 8pm Sharp
@ TT The Bears, 10 Brookline St at Mass Ave - Cambridge, MA
With Sommerville Symphony Orkestar and Dave Crespo's After Party
Facebook Event Page
#Dannyrossandhorns Occupy DC
Friday November 4, 9pm Sharp
@ IOTA, 2832 Wilson Boulevard - Arlington VA
With BFF Justin Trawick to follow
Facebook Event Page
Let's continue this conversation, please post your hilarious and articulate comments on my FB page. I'm unemployed and I literally have nothing else to do. I also have my CV prepared for interviews at your earliest convenience.
All the best,