A Tribute to Dorli Rainey

Courage & Grace Under Fire

"People say to me, “Are you crazy? Why don’t you just retire?” I can’t. I have to keep on going because there’s so much work to be done. I just don’t feel like sitting at home and letting the world fall apart."
Dorli Rainey Portrait
May 24, 2012 | by Lia Grainger | This Magazine

Among the rebels

Perhaps the most iconic representation of Occupy violence is the November 15 photograph of the dripping, pepper-sprayed face of Dorli Rainey, an 84-year-old lifelong activist in Seattle. A few days before Christmas, Rainey and I meet over coffee. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment at a Seattle seniors’ housing development. Among the butterfly magnets and baby animal cards that decorate her fridge is a bumper sticker: “Regime change begins at home.”

When I ask Rainey about getting pepper-sprayed, she tells me it was a good thing: “Absolutely! I’m going to be on the cover of The Guardian weekend edition!” More than fifty-five years in the United States have not erased her lively Austrian accent. She says unprovoked police violence—often captured and broadcast by the protesters themselves via social media—gives the movement currency. It implies the Occupy message has enough weight for those in power to deem it worthy of oppressing. “[Occupy is] a microcosm of the entire population, trying to build a movement,” she says. “It’s bigger than any movement we’ve had before in our lives.”

June 29th, 2012

Posted In: Dori's Writings & Opinions

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