For much of its two month history, the Occupy movement has been by definition faceless. (Sometimes literally so.) That’s what happens, of course, when you purport to speak for 99% of the population of a country.
But this week the movement finally got a face: that of Dorli Rainey, an 84-year-woman pepper-sprayed for supporting Occupy Seattle.
Rainey was marching with Occupy Seattle on Tuesday night in solidarity with New York’s Occupy Wall Street protest, when her group was pepper sprayed by police. In an email to Seattle’s alternative newspaper The Stranger, Rainey gave her account of the night:
Well free speech does have its limits as I found out as the cops shoved their bicycles into the crowd and simultaneously pepper sprayed the captured protesters. If it had not been for my Hero (Iraq Vet Caleb) I would have been down on the ground and trampled. This is what democracy looks like. It certainly left an impression on the people who rode the No. 1 bus home with me.
As Rainey was led away from the scene, her eyes dripping with the Maalox solution protesters use to alleviate the effects of pepper spray, photographer Justin Truijillo snapped a picture of the moment. The image soon went viral, and Rainey became the unlikely face of a movement that had originally been stereotyped as the pastime of lazy twentysomethings.
But who’s the woman behind the image? Well:
–A lifelong liberal activist, Rainey ran for mayor of Seattle in 2009, before dropping out in order to “learn to be old.”
–Originally born in Austria, Rainey came to the U.S. in 1956 after getting fed up with her home country’s bureaucracy.
–She has a blog called Old Lady in Combat Boots. What else needs to be said?
Watch Rainey’s interview with Keith Olbermann below: